LaLiga has confirmed the season will restart with a Seville derby on June 11 and the campaign will wrap up on July 19, it was confirmed on Sunday.

Suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, LaLiga will get back underway with a clash between Sevilla and Real Betis.

The remaining 11 matchdays will be played in less than six weeks as Barcelona and Real Madrid battle for the title.

Barca were two points clear of their bitter rivals when the season was stopped due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 373,000 people worldwide.

Quique Setien's men return to action with a trip to Real Mallorca on June 13, a day before Madrid host Eibar.

Barcelona also host Atletico Madrid on July 1 before facing rivals Espanyol in a derby clash a week later.

Barcelona's remaining fixtures
June 13: Real Mallorca (A)
June 16: Leganes (H)
June 21: Sevilla (A)
June 24: Athletic Bilbao (H)
June 28: Celta Vigo (A)
July 1: Atletico Madrid (H)
July 5: Villarreal (A)
July 8: Espanyol (H)
July 12: Real Valladolid (A)
July 15: Osasuna (H)
July 19: Deportivo Alaves (A)

Real Madrid's remaining fixtures
June 14: Eibar (H)
June 18: Valencia (H)
June 21: Real Sociedad (A)
June 24: Real Mallorca (H)
June 28: Espanyol (A)
July 1: Getafe (H)
July 5: Athletic Bilbao (A)
July 8: Deportivo Alaves (H)
July 12: Granada (A)
July 15: Villarreal (H)
July 19: Leganes (A)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edinson Cavani would make a fearsome partnership with Romelu Lukaku at Inter but would "enjoy some more glorious years" if he moved to Atletico Madrid, says his former Napoli team-mate Andrea Dossena.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Cavani will be out of contract at the end of June and has been heavily linked with Inter and Atletico Madrid, the latter of whom he had been widely tipped to join in January.

The 33-year-old spent three seasons at Napoli between 2010 and 2013, winning the 2011-12 Coppa Italia alongside Dossena.

Former Italy international Dossena does not believe it is time for Cavani to hang up his boots and feels he would be a success at Inter or Atletico.

Dossena told Stats Perform News: "I remember his unbelievable work ethic, his hunger for success. Just a few players can boast it. He had this will to beat record after record that was unique.

"For sure he shouldn't think about retiring, at all. I read he has got two options: Atletico Madrid and Inter.

"He would work either way with two exceptional managers who can get 1,000 per cent from each player. Either way he would find a great destination.

"I wish he could go back to Italy, working with Antonio Conte as a manager and Lukaku as a forward partner.

"This would be a very interesting pair, but should he join Atleti. He would work with [Diego] Simeone and enjoy some more glorious years."

Manchester United star Paul Pogba returning to Juventus is apparently shaping as impossible.

Pogba, 27, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Juventus and Real Madrid reportedly interested in landing the midfielder.

But it seems the Serie A giants will find such a deal impossible.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA RETURNING TO JUVENTUS IS IMPOSSIBLE

Pogba leaving Manchester United to return to Juventus is looking impossible, according to Sport and Corriere dello Sport.

Sport says the Bianconeri cannot afford the €100million (£89m) United would want for the France international.

Pogba left Juve to join United for £89m (€105m) in 2016.

ROUND-UP

- James Rodriguez is pushing for a stay in the Spanish capital. Mundo Deportivo reports the Real Madrid playmaker is determined to sign for Atletico Madrid.

- Real Madrid may be looking for a back-up in his position, but Casemiro is seemingly going nowhere. Marca claims the midfielder recently extended his contract until 2023.

- Odion Ighalo is set for a return to China. The Mirror reports the striker is expecting to go back to Shanghai Shenhua from his loan spell at Manchester United after just eight appearances for the Premier League club, with the Chinese Super League side demanding he returns. Goal says United will focus on RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and Lyon's Moussa Dembele with Ighalo leaving.

- Forget trying to land Ansu Fati this close season. According to Sport, Barcelona will keep the 17-year-old, who is reportedly wanted by Borussia Dortmund and Premier League clubs.

- Newcastle United are looking at signing Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri if they are taken over, according to the Daily Mail.

- It seems Adam Lallana is set to leave Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Mirror reports Burnley have joined the fight for the midfielder, who is also said to be a target for Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham.

Augusto Fernandez admits he did not swap Atletico Madrid for Beijing Renhe for the football, but believes the Chinese Super League is underrated.

Argentina international Fernandez spent two years playing under Diego Simeone at Atletico, joining in January 2016 as cover for Tiago following the midfielder's leg break.

However, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament the following September and made just 21 LaLiga appearances for the club before heading to Beijing.

Fernandez, who is back in Madrid following the expiration of his contract in China and has opened an Argentine restaurant, acknowledged he could have remained at Atleti had he wanted.

"I'm not going to be a hypocrite; I didn't go to China for the football. I had two years left on my Atletico contract and Cholo [Simeone] loved me," he told Radio Continental.

"Chinese football is underrated. People think it's played with a paper ball. Go run at a Chinese person, hit a Chinese person and see who wins. The Chinese are fast and aggressive.

"Chinese football was for me an experience like life. Rare, different. So different.

"I went to compete, to train. You don't earn the respect of the Chinese with what you did in the past, with your name. You earn it by training well and producing results.

"Chinese football is fast but has a lot of tactical deficiencies. If you don't quit, you earn respect."

Beijing won just three CSL games in 2019 and finished bottom of the table, suffering relegation to League One.

Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix could be set for a spell on the sidelines after sustaining an injury to the medial collateral ligament of his left knee.

LaLiga club Atleti revealed on Monday that their club-record signing had undergone tests at the University of Navarra Clinic, with the results confirming he had suffered a low-grade sprain.

Atleti will now be hoping the youngster is fit in time for the resumption of LaLiga, which looks set to restart on June 11.

On Saturday, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed that the league had been given permission to resume behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced suspension.

Joao Felix has made 28 appearances so far for Atleti in all competitions, with the former Benfica forward scoring six goals.

Real Madrid have two reasons to remember May 24 fondly, while cricketer Nasser Hussain is also unlikely to ever forget the date.

Madrid have lifted the Champions League trophy twice on this day in sporting history, beating familiar opponents on both occasions.

As for Hussain, the former England batsman bowed out with a final innings that was perfectly scripted (well, except for his involvement in an untimely run out).

Take a look back at the major moments to occur through the years.

 

2000 - Madrid prevail in all-Spain final 

Madrid and Valencia made Champions League history in Paris, as two clubs from the same country met in the final of Europe's premier club competition for the first time.

Valencia had reached the showpiece at the expense of Barcelona, including thrashing their LaLiga rivals 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-final on their way to a 5-3 aggregate triumph (the same scoreline by which they had knocked out Lazio in the previous round).

However, Vicente del Bosque's Madrid ran out comfortable winners on French soil, Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Raul with the goals in a resounding 3-0 triumph.

2000 - Pistons legend Thomas rewarded 

A two-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star, Isiah Thomas was honoured for his achievements with a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The point guard was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the second pick in the 1981 draft and went on to spend his entire playing career with the franchise, who retired his No.11 jersey.

Thomas played in 979 regular season games and was the focal point of the Detroit teams that won titles in 1989 and 1990, while the Pistons also had a heated rivalry with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s.

Bob McAdoo, a two-time champion himself who was a prolific scorer in a 21-year playing career, was also voted in alongside Thomas.

2004 - Hussain signs out in style

In what would prove to be his final innings, Hussain scored an unbeaten hundred to help England beat New Zealand at Lord's.

The Black Caps had left the hosts needing a tough target of 282 in the final innings of the series opener - and they had England wobbling early at 35-2 following the dismissals of Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher.

Debutant Andrew Strauss combined with Hussain to put on a century stand before the former was run out following a mix-up with his senior batting partner, denying the left-hander - playing on his home ground - the possibility of scoring a century in both innings, as he departed for 83.

Hussain, however, made amends for his role in Strauss' dismissal by going on to reach three figures in a seven-wicket triumph. Three days later, he announced his retirement, swiftly moving from the field of play to the commentary box to start a career in the media.

2014 - Madrid derby sees Real clinch 'La Decima'

A 10th European title finally arrived for Madrid, though not without a dramatic late intervention from Sergio Ramos. Having not won the Champions League since 2002, they appeared set to fall at the final hurdle when they trailed city rivals Atletico 1-0 going into added time in Lisbon.

Diego Godin's first-half header had the newly crowned LaLiga champions on the brink of glory, but Ramos popped up to meet a Luka Modric corner and nod in a last-gasp equaliser.

Carlo Ancelotti's side went on to dominate in extra time, goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored from the penalty spot, sealing a 4-1 triumph.

To rub salt in the wounds for Atletico, boss Diego Simeone was sent off before the final whistle having ran onto the pitch to confront Raphael Varane following an incident in the aftermath to Ronaldo's goal.

LaLiga moved a step closer to a resumption with Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez announcing games can be played from the week commencing June 8.

The decision clears the top flight for a return to action next month, with LaLiga president Javier Tebas previously aiming for Friday, June 12.

"Spain has done what it should and now new horizons are opening for everyone," Sanchez said on Saturday. "The time has come to resume many daily activities. From June 8, LaLiga will return to football."

There are 11 rounds of the 2019-20 season remaining, with much to be decided at the top and bottom end of the table. 

Below is the full list of fixtures:

 

Matchweek 28

Athletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo v Villarreal
Espanyol v Deportivo Alaves
Granada v Getafe
Leganes v Real Valladolid
Real Mallorca v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Eibar
Real Sociedad v Osasuna
Sevilla v Real Betis
Valencia v Levante

Matchweek 29

Deportivo Alaves v Real Sociedad
Barcelona v Leganes
Real Betis v Granada 
Eibar v Athletic Bilbao
Getafe v Espanyol
Levante v Sevilla
Osasuna v Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Valencia
Villarreal v Real Mallorca
Real Valladolid v Celta Vigo

Matchweek 30

Athletic Bilbao v Real Betis  
Atletico Madrid v Real Valladolid
Celta Vigo v Deportivo Alaves
Espanyol v Levante
Getafe v Eibar
Granada v Villarreal
Real Mallorca v Leganes
Real Sociedad v Real Madrid
Sevilla v Barcelona
Valencia v Osasuna

Matchweek 31 

Deportivo Alaves v Osasuna
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao
Real Betis v Espanyol
Eibar v Valencia
Leganes v Granada
Levante v Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Real Mallorca
Real Sociedad v Celta Vigo
Villarreal v Sevilla
Real Valladolid v Getafe

Matchweek 32

Athletic Bilbao v Real Mallorca
Atletico Madrid v Deportivo Alaves
Celta Vigo v Barcelona
Espanyol v Real Madrid
Getafe v Real Sociedad
Granada v Eibar
Levante v Real Betis 
Osasuna v Leganes
Sevilla v Real Valladolid
Villarreal v Valencia

Matchweek 33

Deportivo Alaves v Granada 
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Real Betis v Villarreal
Eibar v Osasuna
Leganes v Sevilla
Real Mallorca v Celta Vigo
Real Madrid v Getafe
Real Sociedad v Espanyol
Valencia v Athletic Bilbao 
Real Valladolid v Levante

Matchweek 34

Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid 
Atletico Madrid v Real Mallorca
Celta Vigo v Real Betis
Espanyol v Leganes
Granada v Valencia  
Levante v Real Sociedad
Osasuna v Getafe
Sevilla v Eibar
Villarreal v Barcelona
Real Valladolid v Deportivo Alaves

Matchweek 35

Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla
Barcelona v Espanyol
Real Betis v Osasuna
Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid
Eibar v Leganes
Getafe v Villarreal
Real Mallorca v Levante
Real Madrid v Deportivo Alaves
Real Sociedad v Granada
Valencia v Real Valladolid

Matchweek 36

Deportivo Alaves v Getafe
Atletico de Madrid v Real Betis
Espanyol v Eibar
Granada v Real Madrid
Leganes v Valencia
Levante v Athletic Bilbao 
Osasuna v Celta Vigo
Sevilla v Real Mallorca
Villarreal v Real Sociedad
Real Valladolid v Barcelona

Matchweek 37

Athletic Bilbao v Leganes
Barcelona v Osasuna
Real Betis v Deportivo Alaves
Celta Vigo v Levante
Eibar v Real Valladolid
Getafe v Atletico Madrid
Real Mallorca v Granada
Real Madrid v Villarreal
Real Sociedad v Sevilla
Valencia v Espanyol

Matchweek 38

Deportivo Alaves v Barcelona
Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad
Espanyol v Celta Vigo
Granada v Athletic Bilbao 
Leganes v Real Madrid
Levante v Getafe
Osasuna v Real Mallorca
Sevilla v Valencia
Villarreal v Eibar
Real Valladolid v Real Betis

After the Bundesliga's successful return, LaLiga looks to be up next among Europe's top five leagues.

Spain's top flight has been suspended since March 12 after Real Madrid went into quarantine when a player on their basketball team tested positive for coronavirus.

A resumption date of June 8 has been approved, however, and a tense title tussle is back on the cards between the country's two grandest clubs.

Ahead of the big kick-off behind closed doors, we take a look at the story so far in this LaLiga campaign.
 

What is the state of play?

Madrid have won the domestic league title in just one of the past seven seasons, yet they are poised to push Barcelona all the way this time.

It is Barca who again have the advantage for now, though, holding a two-point lead over their bitter rivals, having reclaimed top spot ahead of the suspension when Zinedine Zidane's side lost at Real Betis.

Defeat in Seville represented a bitter blow for Madrid, who seemed to have seized the initiative by beating the Blaugrana at the Santiago Bernabeu the previous week.

The big two still have work to do in the Champions League - Madrid trail Manchester City after a last-16 first leg, as Barca-Napoli stands at 1-1 - but there is no third horse in the race positioned to take advantage.

It is all to play for in the race for Champions League qualification, as just two points separate third-placed Sevilla and Atletico Madrid in sixth.

Shot-shy draw kings Atleti upset holders Liverpool to reach the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition, but must battle past Real Sociedad and Getafe to be assured of a return to the big time next season.

At the foot of the table, Espanyol, Leganes and Real Mallorca occupy the relegation places. Celta Vigo are a point clear of Mallorca in 17th.
 

What have been the big controversies?

Even by Barca's colourful standards, this has been a particularly tumultuous season.

Head coach Ernesto Valverde was sacked in January following a Supercopa de Espana semi-final reverse at the hands of Atletico, and sporting director Eric Abidal bravely picked a fight with the squad, including former team-mate Lionel Messi, by suggesting players were not working hard enough for the dismissed boss.

Messi fired back and claimed Abidal was "dirtying" the squad, with reports of discontent behind the scenes persisting ever since.

To make matters worse for Barca, club great Messi has a clause in his contract that could prompt a free transfer - although such a departure still seems incredibly unlikely.

Ivan Rakitic is among the Blaugrana stars who might well depart, reminding the club: "I am not a sack of potatoes. I will decide my future. I want to be where I am valued."

Sales are said to be required to fund potential big-money bids for Lautaro Martinez and ex-Barca forward Neymar.
 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

New head coach Quique Setien was not immediately able to arrest Barca's January slump and they ceded top spot to Madrid after a run of just two wins in six in the league.

However, the Catalan giants had been a picture of consistency since the January 25 loss at Valencia - until visiting Madrid.

A run of four straight wins was ended by Zidane's men, yet Barca were back on track when they beat Sociedad prior to the pause in play.

Madrid, by contrast, have taken just four points from their past four games, with the Barca game sandwiched between a pair of defeats. Los Blancos had previously lost just once in the league this term.

The suspension came at a frustrating time for Sociedad, meanwhile, after four wins in five - losing only to the leaders - moved the Basque outfit into the top four.

Wins for Leganes and Mallorca in their most recent fixtures ensured both sides retained survival hopes.
 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

The positive test for a Madrid basketball players may have prompted the season's suspension, but Valencia were the LaLiga club most prominent in early discussion of coronavirus.

Ezequiel Garay, Jose Gaya and Eliaquim Mangala each confirmed diagnoses, before Los Che revealed on March 16 that 35 per cent of those at the club tested had returned positive results.

Madrid still made the headlines, though, as forward Luka Jovic was criticised for breaching self-isolation measures on his return to Serbia.

Fifteen cases were soon confirmed at Deportivo Alaves, too, while Spain has become one of the worst-affected countries with more than 28,000 related deaths.

The country's leading players at least helped to limit the financial impact of the crisis with pay cuts, with Barca stars forgoing more than 70 per cent of their wages.

The LaLiga season can resume in the week commencing June 8, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez has announced.

Sanchez made his declaration as he addressed a range of coronavirus issues on Saturday.

LaLiga officials have been looking to Friday, June 12 as the date on which they want the league to return, and they can now push towards that target.

Sanchez said: "Spain has done what it should and now new horizons are opening for everyone. The time has come to resume many daily activities. From June 8, LaLiga will return to football."

Clubs have returned to training, although social distancing rules have been followed and full group sessions have not yet been able to take place.

Matches will have to be played behind closed doors, but Sanchez's announcement should allow the 2019-20 season to play to a completion.

When the league was suspended in March, Barcelona held a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table, with every team having 11 games still to play.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said earlier this week he was "excited" about the prospect of matches returning. He stressed they could only proceed with clearance from health authorities, but the go-ahead from Sanchez means Spanish football will soon be up and running once more.

Until now, players have only been allowed to train in groups of 10 or fewer.

Reports on Thursday said LaLiga would restart on June 12 with a derby clash between Real Betis and Sevilla.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen's future has dominated headlines.

The Barcelona goalkeeper has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou, where his current contract expires at the end of 2021-22.

But the Germany international appears on the verge of extending his stay at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – TER STEGEN POISED FOR BARCA RENEWAL

Marc-Andre ter Stegen will sign a long-term contract with Barcelona, according to Friday's front page of Diario Sport.

Ter Stegen and Barca have been deadlocked over talks regarding a new deal, prompting speculation about the Germany international's future.

The Barca goalkeeper had been linked to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich before Manuel Neuer extended his contract in Bavaria.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid and Inter have enquired about Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, says Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira. Dismissing talks between Napoli and Aguero, Schira claims City do not want to sell the Argentina international.

- Sport Mediaset reports Edinson Cavani has set his personal terms to Inter. The Paris Saint-Germain veteran is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with Atletico Madrid. However, the Uruguayan has reportedly told Atletico his agreed personal terms with the Spanish club are no longer valid as Inter eye the forward.

Barca are very optimistic regarding deals for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, says Marca.

- According to Le10Sport, Juve have started negotiations with Mino Raiola to bring Manchester United star Paul Pogba back to Turin.

- As Roma look to make Henrikh Mkhitaryan's deal permanent, Calciomercato says Arsenal are interested in signing Justin Kluivert. Mkhitaryan has spent the 2019-20 season on loan in the Italian capital.

- Madrid forward Luka Jovic is Milan's first choice as a striker for next season, reports Schira. The Rossoneri are working on a two-year loan deal with the option to buy, however, Jovic's salary is proving problematic amid talks.

Milan's pursuit of Jovic comes as the club close in on Ralf Rangnick. According to Calciomercato, Rangnick is set to become head coach, though the German could vacate his position in season two for either RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann or Borussia Monchengladbach's Marco Rose.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, City, Juve and PSG are battling for Barca full-back Nelson Semedo. The Portugal international has also been linked to Bayern and Inter.

Manuel Neuer is set for three more seasons at Bayern Munich after penning a contract extension until 2023.

The Germany international has established himself as one of the greats of the modern era and is well-placed to win an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title.

The 34-year-old also counts the 2012-13 Champions League and 2014 World Cup among his career honours, but recent seasons have raised questions over whether he remains the same peerless operator he was during those mid-decade glory days.

Alexander Nubel's pending arrival from Schalke suggests Bayern are keen to insure themselves against any dip in form from their club captain over the coming years, so it feels a good time to ask - is Neuer still an elite goalkeeper when compared to contemporaries widely considered to be at the top of their trade?

HEADING BACK IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Sunday's 2-0 win at Union Berlin saw Neuer chalk up his 11th Bundesliga clean sheet of the season.

Aside from the 2017-18 campaign, when injuries restricted him to three top-flight outings, he has reached double figures for shutouts every year of his senior career – dating back to 2006-07 when he managed 13 from 27 games at former club Schalke.

However, having stopped around four of every five shots for the majority of his Bayern days, Neuer's save percentage plummeted to 59.7 last season, while his 23 goals conceded outstripped Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) number of 20.1.

xGOT gives an indication of the number of goals a goalkeeper should concede based upon the quality of shot faced.

This term, Neuer has those numbers in the right order once more. Although 26 let in is already his highest figure in the Bundesliga since his final season at Schalke (a whopping 44 in 2010-11), his xGOT number is 29.5 and his overall save percentage is back up to a more respectable 70.1.

TER STEGEN PRESSING A CASE FOR DIE MANNSCHAFT?

Having stood apart as Germany's number one for the best part of a decade, Neuer has seen Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen make an increasingly strong case to displace him in the national team.

Neuer's fitness woes coupled with a disappointing 2018 World Cup performance played a part, while Ter Stegen has arguably established himself as Barca's most important player not named Lionel Messi.

This campaign, Neuer is statistically out-performing his Germany rival. Ter Stegen has conceded 29 times with an xGOT reading of 26, while he has managed eight clean sheets from 26 LaLiga matches.

Last season, Ter Stegen's efforts made for very impressive reading, however, with 16 clean sheets and 32 goals conceded in 35 top-flight matches.

His xGOT was up at 38.3 and his save percentage was 72.7 – better than 65.5 this time around.

Both men have shown themselves to be fine proponents of the modern art of sweeper keeping, although Neuer is more active in this regard of late. According to Opta, Ter Stegen has five "keeper sweepings" to his name in each of the past two seasons, with Neuer making nine and 17.

OBLAK THE LEADER OF THE PACK

Looking beyond Germany's number one and two goalkeepers, there is a clear standout performer.

Jan Oblak's virtuoso display at Anfield as Atletico Madrid ended Liverpool's Champions League defence in March was enough to hearten any keeping enthusiast over the intervening barren months.

Such heroics are not unusual for the Slovenia star, who conceded 27 goals despite an xGOT number of 40.3 in 2018-19.

Oblak finished with 20 clean sheets last season, a figure Neuer touched in the back-to-back 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns at Bayern. Remarkably, Oblak had 24 league shutouts (and a save percentage of 81.8) in the latter, while he amassed 22 in 2017-18.

This time around, he only has 11 and his save ratio is below 75 per cent for the first time in his Atleti career, and 21 goals conceded compared to xGOT 22.3 has levelled out.

Oblak's two keeper sweepings in 2019-20 underlines his reputation as more of an "old school" goalkeeper, rather than someone accustomed to raiding out of their penalty area.

DE GEA COMING OFF HIS PEAK

Manchester United's David de Gea is also a player who would be counted as being at odds to the new wave of players between the posts, although a dip in his imperious levels has left the Spain international facing similar questions to Neuer over the past couple of seasons.

If United's second-place finish in the 2017-18 Premier League was one of Jose Mourinho's greatest achievements, it certainly ranks as one of De Gea's. He saved in excess of 80 per cent of shots and kept 18 clean sheets, conceding 28 times in 37 matches.

De Gea has already let in more in 2019-20 (30), while he shipped 54 in an increasingly error-strewn 2018-19. Although, perhaps it is as much a case of performances reverting to a mean and not bailing out some haphazard defending in front of him.

In the past two seasons, United's expected goals against (xG) – based upon the quality of chances afforded to opposition players – read 51.2 and 30.2.

SAFE HANDS AT THE BACK OF KLOPP'S MACHINE

Liverpool have transformed from great entertainers to a relentless winning machine since Alisson arrived from Roma in 2018, with Adrian's flimsy showing against Atletico in European competition serving as an uncomfortable reminder of the recent past for the Reds.

Able to build from the back, Brazil's number one has 29 keeper sweeping in a 58-game Premier League career, while also dealing well in the old currency of clean sheets, tallying up 31 in the competition.

Undoubtedly well protected by a defence led by Virgil van Dijk, Alisson is reliable when called upon. His 2019-20 save ratio is up to 80.4 from 77.1 per cent.

Last season, he out-performed his xGOT of 27.5 by letting in just 22, although 11 conceded is slightly higher than a staggeringly low 9.7 xGOT in 2019-20.

That number drops from an xG against of 17.5, suggesting Alisson – who missed an early chunk of the current season due to a calf injury – has also benefitted from wasteful finishing by opponents during Liverpool's march towards the title.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly set to rival Real Madrid for Erling Haaland, while Barcelona continue to consider their moves.

Haaland has starred this season and moved to Borussia Dortmund in January, but the forward is already being strongly linked with a move away.

While the Norway international is apparently a key target for Madrid, it seems PSG also like the forward, who scored against them in the last 16 of this season's Champions League.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE REAL MADRID TARGET HAALAND

PSG could threaten Madrid's pursuit of Haaland, according to the cover of Marca.

The Ligue 1 giants are looking at the 19-year-old with Kylian Mbappe's contract expiring in 2022 and the futures of Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi uncertain.

Haaland has scored 13 goals in 12 games for Dortmund this season, with two of those strikes coming in BVB's 2-1 win over PSG at Signal Iduna Park in the first leg of the Champions League's last 16.

PSG went through in the return leg, with the team – led by Neymar – mocking Haaland's meditation celebration at full-time.

ROUND-UP

- At Barcelona, there is uncertainty over how the club can land Inter star Lautaro Martinez as well as Juventus pair Miralem Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio. Sport says Barca have seven players they are prepared to sell to get deals done for the trio – Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Carles Alena, Rafinha and Nelson Semedo. It also reports Inter are hoping to sign Vidal, but not as part of a deal for Martinez.

- Staying at Camp Nou, and Mundo Deportivo reports Barca considered signing Tottenham star Harry Kane before turning their attentions to Martinez.

- Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz continues to attract plenty of interest. The Sun claims Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have joined Bayern Munich in the battle for the attacker, while Le 10 Sport says Madrid are also keen on the Germany international.

- Madrid could be busy during the close season. AS understands they are following Lille defender Gabriel as an alternative to RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano.

- With his contract expiring at the end of the campaign, Layvin Kurzawa looks likely to leave PSG. Sport reports Atletico Madrid have joined the list of teams who want the left-back.

- Moussa Diaby has scored four goals and provided five assists for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this season. Le 10 Sport believes Arsenal and Dortmund have asked about the 20-year-old winger.

Federico Valverde called his crucial tackle on Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata in Real Madrid's Supercopa de Espana final success in January "a clean foul".

Uruguay international Valverde was shown a straight red card for a tactical foul on Morata, who was set to shoot in a one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois in the 25th minute of extra time.

Atletico were unable to convert the free-kick or make the most of their numerical advantage in the closing stages, with Madrid going on to triumph 4-1 on penalties in Jeddah.

Valverde only received a one-game ban for the challenge, which he says was a calculated decision taken with no malice.

Asked about the incident, Valverde told ABC: "I don't know if it put me in the heart of Real Madrid fans, but I am not proud of committing a foul against an opponent.

"I don't know anyone who likes fouls. The ideal is to end a game without making any, but fouls are part of football.

"But what I would really not be proud of is not doing anything for my team in that, or any, passage of play.

"It was a clean foul, not done to injure, of course!"

Valverde has made 32 appearances in all competitions for Madrid in 2019, 23 of which have come as part of Zinedine Zidane's starting line-up.

However, the 21-year-old does not feel like he has firmly established himself as one of the team's leading players.

"I don't feel like I've experienced my confirmation [as a Madrid player]. I continue with the mentality of the first day I entered the biggest dressing room in the world," said Valverde.

"There are many players here who are stars, who have been confirmed for a long time and I know from them that, to feel like you have earned a place in the team, you have to toil a lot beforehand. I am just toiling. My goals are clear in my head: learn and give everything."

Asked if he would like to spend the rest of his career with Madrid, Valverde replied: "It's the dream. I don't want to be anywhere other than at Real Madrid.

"I would like nothing more than to be useful and necessary for my dream team."

LaLiga clubs have returned to training in groups of up to 10 players.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were among the teams to post photos from the next phase of the Spanish top flight's attempted return early on Monday.

Following LaLiga's coronavirus hiatus, players were allowed to resume individual work from May 4 as the country began to de-escalate its lockdown measures.

Although strict guidelines are set to remain in place for Madrid and Catalonia over the coming weeks, the lockdown is being eased in many other regions of Spain.

And in accordance with government regulations and protocols, clubs are now able to resume group sessions at their training bases.

Initially teams will be required to work in groups of no more than 10 players, but they are still not permitted to use changing facilities and must arrive and leave individually.

The groups must work on different pitches, or at the very least in opposite halves.

LaLiga confirmed "group training may be carried out by all clubs, regardless of the de-escalation phase of the province in which they are located". Strict preventive and safety guidelines are in place.

"This is a significant step forward on the road towards restarting professional football in Spain, which has been on hold since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic," read a statement from LaLiga.

The league's president, Javier Tebas, who is aiming for a June 12 restart, told Movistar's El Partidazo: "The start of the next phase in LaLiga's Return to Training protocol is another step towards the restarting of the competition. 

"It will be good to be able to set all training routines on an equal footing. It's very important that every club have the same chance to be in good shape.

"It's not essential, but it's very important and we're grateful that it will be like that."

Tebas hopes football can be played every day once LaLiga returns in order to finish the season, saying: "That is what I hope.

"We shouldn't have any problems playing on Mondays across the eleven rounds of matches we have left to play. I hope for some sense from the Royal Spanish Football Federation on this. 

"It's very important for us to be able to give both our national and international broadcasters, and fans across the world, football on as many days as possible to ensure as little disruption as possible."

He also welcomed the return of Bundesliga action at the weekend.

"I'm very happy, and I've congratulated them because they've taken a very important step," he said.

"We've worked hard on this together over the past months, we've exchanged protocols, ideas, we spoke once or twice every week. 

"I'm very proud of the Bundesliga. It wasn't easy; they were the first to get up and running and they're an example to follow."

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