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)

Leganes have renewed 2019-20 season tickets for the entirety of the next campaign for free due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga has been suspended since March but has been given the green light to return from the week commencing June 8, though all games will be played behind closed doors.

Leganes are based in Madrid, which has seen more than 67,000 cases of COVID-19 and just shy of 9,000 deaths as a result.

Due to the impact of the virus, Leganes have made all 2019-20 season tickets valid for 2020-21 in addition.

"Given the impossibility of playing the remaining matches of the 2019-20 season with open doors due to the effects of COVID-19, Leganes will compensate its subscribers by validating the current subscriptions for LaLiga matches of the 2020-21 campaign," read a club statement.

"The club, aware of the social reality that our city is experiencing, one of the hardest hit in all of Spain in terms of the level of deceased and infected ... wants, in this way, to be sensitive with all its existing season-ticket holders."

Getafe, who are also based in Madrid, made their season tickets for this campaign valid for the entirety of 2020-21 too.

Leganes sit 19th in LaLiga, three points adrift of safety with 11 games remaining.

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio won the LaLiga FIFA 20 charity challenge, helping raise funds for the fight against coronavirus.

While COVID-19 pandemic has forced sports to stop around the world, LaLiga continued to go ahead over the weekend, albeit virtually.

A single player was invited by Spanish video game streamer Ibai Llanos to represent their team in a 20-club FIFA 20 tournament.

Asensio – who has been sidelined for the entire 2019-20 season due to a serious knee injury – swapped the pitch for PlayStation.

The 24-year-old Spain international's time away from the football ground paid dividends after beating Leganes' Aitor Ruibal 4-2 in Sunday's final.

Over €140,000 was also raised, with all proceeds going to UNICEF as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 14,500 lives.

"It has been a spectacular tournament," Asensio wrote via Twitter. "The goal was to have a good time, laugh, entertain ourselves in these difficult times for everyone, and donate in the fight against COVID-19. And we have succeeded.

"Congratulations @IbaiLlanos and all who have made it possible."

The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar on Saturday with more major events and competitions being disrupted.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the globe, it has resulted in the postponement of competitions worldwide as governments attempt to combat the pandemic.

A small number of events still went ahead, but sports stars, teams and indeed supporters were otherwise left to find other means of entertainment.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 155,000, we round up all the latest news and updates.

 

Germany's prestige friendly with Italy later this month became the latest football fixture to bite the dust, with the majority of upcoming international matches having now been wiped out.

More major organisations have halted all footballing activities until a later date, including Qatar, Morocco and Egypt.

A small number of competitions, most notably the A-League, Russian Premier League and Mexico's Liga MX, did manage to go ahead as planned.

Indeed, NRL games also avoided the cut, as did a handful of Super Rugby matches before an indefinite ban was put in place later in the day.

Another competition to fall was Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand, which was already being played behind closed doors.

With New Zealand's government introducing strict protocols to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the Black Caps – along with Super Rugby side Highlanders – returned home from Australia and Argentina respectively in order to beat the new restrictions, which will mean any new arrival to the country, even if they are a citizen, has to self-isolate for 14 days.

With the top-four tiers of English football being shelved until at least early April, there was plenty of focus on the National League as six games were given the green light.

There was some controversy in Argentina as River Plate's Copa Superliga clash with Atletico Tucuman was suspended after the home side refused to open their stadium.

Independiente's tie with Velez Sarsfield was played out in full, albeit behind closed doors, with the hosts claiming a 1-0 victory.

In Italy, Napoli urged their supporters to sing from their balconies in unison as Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and two more Sampdoria players tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy revealed a negative test result after recently self-isolating, but Carlo Ancelotti and Angelo Ogbonna questioned the Premier League's handling of the outbreak, while Jordan Pickford denied reports he is self-isolating.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, meanwhile, claimed the competition should be "void" – a suggestion Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher quickly dismissed.

The lack of football did not stop certain clubs from keeping supporters entertained, though, with LaLiga side Leganes posting live updates of a fictitious match against Real Valladolid, which they won 2-1.

Perhaps inspired by their Spanish counterparts, Southampton got Manchester City involved in an online game of noughts and crosses to help fill the void.

The downtime also gave football stars a chance to recuperate, with Sergio Ramos and Alexis Sanchez among those to post images of their extra-curricular activities.

Others, such as Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, opted to use social media to educate their followers on how to properly wash their hands, while Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi used his profile to echo the sentiments of Cristiano Ronaldo in calling for people to follow the guidance of health organisations.

As Ronaldo and Jurgen Klopp were praised by the World Health Organisation for "protecting people from coronavirus", former United States president Barack Obama hailed a host of NBA stars – including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson – for donating large amounts to help support arena staff during the league's hiatus.

UFC superstar Conor McGregor labelled the pandemic "a stupid f****** virus", but later moved to clarify his aunt did not die after contracting the disease after previously suggesting as such.

And in more positive news, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe revealed his country still plan for the 2020 Olympic Games to go ahead in Tokyo, starting in late July.

The International Olympic Committee will have the final say, but ABE is confident the Games will be staged "without problem".

The Premier League and LaLiga are both suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Manchester City, Southampton and Leganes provided some entertainment on Saturday.

All matches in Europe's major leagues – along with a plethora of events across other sports – have been postponed indefinitely or cancelled as governments attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.

In the absence of games, however, three clubs in particular got creative with their attempts to amuse their fans.

First, LaLiga side Leganes, in a bid to help keep people in their homes as Spain continues to be on lockdown, posted live updates of a fictitious match against Real Valladolid, who they were originally due to host this weekend.

Complete with a stoppage for a VAR check, match commentary and even a post-match news conference, the imaginary encounter finished 2-1 to Leganes, with Oscar Rodriguez and Guido Carrillo scoring for the home side and Enes Unal netting one for Valladolid.

"Thank you all for following and participating in the transmission of the Leganes v Real Valladolid," a final post read. "[We need a] lot of strength right now and we never lack a sense of humour."

Perhaps inspired by their Spanish counterparts, Southampton attempted to get Norwich City – their scheduled Premier League opponents – involved in an online game of noughts and crosses.

However, Norwich did not respond to Southampton's initial move, with the Saints posting at half-time: "In truth, only one team making any effort to play here, but we're still waiting for the first real breakthrough."

Manchester City volunteered to take over, though, and the game finished level, prompting Southampton to appeal to the Premier League for a point.

It remains to be seen when the leagues will be able to recommence in more traditional fashion or if the season will be able to be completed at all.

While UEFA's 55 member nations will meet via a video conference on Tuesday, with the status of the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020 up for discussion, the Premier League has called an emergency meeting for Thursday after suspending all matches until April 3.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has defended the club's decision to sign Martin Braithwaite but admits Leganes have every right to feel aggrieved by the transfer.

The LaLiga champions confirmed on Thursday they had signed the striker after triggering an €18million release clause in his contract.

Barca were granted special dispensation to sign Braithwaite outside of the transfer window after losing Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele to long-term injuries.

LaLiga strugglers Leganes have been blocked from bringing in a replacement forward, however, much to the frustration of the club's general director Martin Ortega.

Ortega accused the league and the Royal Spanish Football Federation of causing Leganes "irreparable damage" and has asked for the rule to be amended.

Speaking at Braithwaite's introductory news conference on Thursday, Bartomeu agreed the loophole needs to be looked at.

"We have paid the clause following the regulations, although we believe that it should be revised because it is not fair that Leganes cannot now sign anyone," he told reporters.

Barcelona's decision to sign Braithwaite has raised eyebrows, but Bartomeu believes the former Middlesbrough forward can be a big asset for the club this season and beyond.

"After analysing different players, we chose Martin. We believe it will help us win the two remaining titles," he added.

"I am very excited about the arrival of a new player and we hope he will help us in a league that we want to win and that is very open. He will give us strength.

"We had a long-term injured player like Dembele, in addition to Luis Suarez. The technical team has studied players and we hope Braithwaite can debut quickly.

"He has signed for the next four and a half years and comes to help now and for the future."

Braithwaite could make his debut when Eibar visit Camp Nou on Saturday, and Barca director Eric Abidal is happy with the new arrival.

"Martin is a Denmark international, with experience different from those players we have," said Abidal, who dodged questions regarding his recent row with Lionel Messi.

"He has character, strength, speed and great potential. I have had the opportunity to speak with coaches he has had. He will contribute a lot and be decisive. 

"Hopefully, we can compete with him at the highest level."

New Barcelona signing Martin Braithwaite believes his studious approach to football will make him a shrewd addition for the LaLiga champions.

The striker completed a move to Camp Nou on Thursday after Barca activated his €18million release clause at Leganes.

The Catalans had been granted special dispensation to sign a forward due to long-term injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, who may not return to action this season.

Braithwaite scored six times in 24 appearances for Leganes this season to help their fight against relegation but has only twice reached double figures for goals in a single league campaign, back when he was with Toulouse in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

However, the 28-year-old sees himself as a student of the game and one whose attributes will make him useful to head coach Quique Setien.

"I'm really excited. It's a childhood dream come true," he told Barca TV. "Everyone who plays football dreams of playing at Barcelona. Here I am, and I'm really excited to win titles.

"It's a club with a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations, and I'm here to go and try to win everything possible.

"I'm a technical player, always physical in that I'm really fast, really strong. I'd say my best attribute is my intelligence. I move really intelligently. I study the game. I call myself a football student. I always try to improve my football every day.

"I think, the way we play here, my movement will help the team a lot. And, of course, I'm a goalscorer so I'm here to score goals."

Braithwaite is looking forward to the chance to call Lionel Messi a team-mate, hailing the Barca captain as arguably the greatest player in history.

"He's maybe the best player ever, so of course it's a big moment for me to be able to play with this guy and to say that I've played with him, so I'm really excited," said the Denmark international.

Braithwaite could make his debut when Eibar visit Camp Nou on Saturday.

Barca then face Napoli at the San Paolo in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before they take on Real Madrid in El Clasico on March 1.

It is fair to say Barcelona's signing of Martin Braithwaite has raised a few eyebrows.

After being granted special dispensation to complete a deal for the Leganes forward outside of the transfer window, Barca announced the arrival of Braithwaite on Thursday.

Braithwaite moves to Camp Nou with a modest return of 10 goals in 43 LaLiga appearances and having had uninspiring spells at Middlesbrough and Bordeaux prior to moving to Spain.

Yet, this is hardly the first time a Barcelona signing has seemed puzzling to those on the outside.

Here, we take a look at some of the strangest, not necessarily the worst, signings Barca have made in recent history.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

This feels like the caveat of surprising not worst needs re-emphasising. Ibrahimovic's standing as a world-class talent is not in question. But it was a signing that seemed out of place with Barca's style of play under Pep Guardiola, and a deal made even more perplexing by the club's decision to sanction Inter's signing of Samuel Eto'o, who was part of a devastating triumvirate with Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry. While Eto'o went on to win the treble under Jose Mourinho in 2009-10, Ibrahimovic – while still managing a solid return of 16 goals in 29 LaLiga outings – never really fit the mould at Camp Nou and reports of discord with Guardiola were always bubbling under the surface. He was shipped out to Milan a year later with a LaLiga and Club World Cup medal to show for his efforts.

ALEX SONG

Cameroon midfielder Song made over 200 appearances for Arsenal but not many truly thought he was a player with the calibre to shine at Barcelona. With Barca's midfield boasting the talents of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Thiago Alcantara, Javier Mascherano, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets when he joined in 2012 it was hard to see where Song fit in. And so it proved, with Song twice being sent out on loan to West Ham before a permanent move to Rubin Kazan was agreed in July 2016.

JEREMY MATHIEU

David Luiz, Marquinhos and Mats Hummels were all tipped as potential additions for a Barca side seeking a central defender in July 2014. For one reason or another none made the move and so Barca paid the €20million release clause to Valencia to make Mathieu the most expensive defender over the age of 30. Having only really played one full season as a centre-back it was not a deal that exactly screamed value. But, to his credit, Mathieu proved a useful squad player and he left Camp Nou with two LaLiga medals, three Copas del Rey and a Champions League win to his name.

PAULINHO

This one definitely falls under the category of surprising rather than worst. Paulinho was widely regarded as a £17million flop during a two-season stay with Tottenham so not many could have foreseen Barcelona forking out a reported €40million fee to sign the Brazil midfielder from Guangzhou Evergrande. But Paulinho was a solid squad man at Barca and his one-season stay – he would re-join Guangzhou in July 2018 – saw him make 34 league appearances, as well as returning a LaLiga and Copa del Rey double.

ARTURO VIDAL

Much like Ibrahimovic, it was not a question of Vidal's talent or achievements, more if he could fit the stereotype of a Barca player. The Chile midfielder, who has won top-flight titles in Italy and Germany with Juventus and Bayern Munich, has proven a useful player for Barca, helping the club to LaLiga glory last term, but has made just six league starts this term. The 32-year-old was the subject of reported interest from Inter in January.

KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG

A player certainly not devoid of talent but Boateng is the sort of player who in years to come many will say out loud "I didn't know he'd played for them!" A nomadic career has seen him take in spells with the likes of Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund, Milan and Schalke but few would have imagined Barca would come calling in January 2019. However, with Ernesto Valverde on the lookout for back-up to Luis Suarez and Boateng having had experience of playing as a centre-forward in LaLiga with Las Palmas, a loan deal with Sassuolo was agreed. He made just four appearances and is now enjoying a temporary spell at Besiktas from Fiorentina.

JEISON MURILLO

Much like Boateng, Murillo arrived on a short-term loan in the 2019 January window as a short-term option. With injuries to Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen leaving Barca short at centre-back it was not particularly a surprise to see them enter the market, more that they moved for Murillo who had made just one LaLiga appearance for Valencia since joining on a full-time deal from Inter. Opportunities, as you may expect, proved scarce and Murillo played just four times for Barca.

Barcelona have completed the controversial signing of Martin Braithwaite from Leganes after the club were granted special dispensation to complete the deal outside of the transfer window.

LaLiga's champions were given permission to sign a forward after injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele left them short of striking options.

Barca on Thursday confirmed they have met an €18million release clause to bring in the 28-year-old until June 2024, with a buyout clause set at €300million.

Braithwaite has scored six goals in 24 LaLiga appearances for relegation-threatened Leganes this season.

Reports that Barca were poised to seal the contentious move raised questions over how the Catalan giants are able to draft in reinforcements with the window closed.

Leganes, who are 19th in LaLiga and two points from safety, reportedly had an appeal to complete a transfer of their own turned down as signing a replacement for a departing player does not comply with the rules in Spain.

Struggling Leganes also saw fellow striker Youssef En-Nesyri join Sevilla in a €20million deal in January.

Braithwaite arrived at Leganes in January 2019 after an uninspiring spell at Middlesbrough, while he also spent time on loan in Ligue 1 with Bordeaux.

Barca are second in LaLiga, just a point adrift of Clasico rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona have contacted Leganes regarding the potential signing of striker Martin Braithwaite and the Madrid club are worried losing him will doom them to relegation, according to majority shareholder Felipe Moreno.

After having Ousmane Dembele ruled out for six months last week, Barca are reported to have been granted special dispensation to sign a new player despite the transfer window being closed.

The regulations in place stipulate the player they sign must either be registered with another Spanish club already or a free agent.

Angel Rodriguez, Willian Jose, Lucas Perez and Loren Moron were said to be the initial candidates, but in the past few days Leganes' Denmark international Braithwaite has seemingly emerged as the most likely option.

Leganes confirmed Barca made contact with them on Monday but insist Braithwaite will only leave if his reported €20million release clause is triggered, with Moreno expressing concern after the relegation-threatened side lost another striker in Youssef En-Nesyri to Sevilla last month.

"Yesterday [Monday] afternoon they called and contemplated this situation," Moreno told reporters on Tuesday. "They only made contact once.

"The truth is that we are very worried. After what happened to us with En-Nesyri, now what happens with Braithwaite ... staying in LaLiga gets more complicated every day. In these next hours we will know what happens, yes or no.

"I don't know if anyone will come from Barcelona today. The player has a day off and we have not talked to him.

"I understand why Braithwaite would go to Barca, I would too. But of course, we are not going to negotiate anything. They pay his clause, or he stays at Leganes.

"I can understand that Barca do this if the law allows them to, but I thought that they couldn't sign an active player, only one free agent. I was surprised."

After 24 LaLiga matches this season, Leganes are second-bottom of the table, only ahead of Espanyol on goal difference and two points adrift of Celta Vigo in 17th.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly yet to begin talks with Neymar over a new deal.

The Brazil international was linked with a return to Barcelona before the start of this season, but ended up staying in Paris.

Yet after claims last month that Neymar wanted a new deal at PSG, it is reported no negotiations have been held just yet.

 

TOP STORY – PSG YET TO BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS WITH NEYMAR

PSG and Neymar are yet to meet to discuss a possible extension, according to Le Parisien.

Neymar, 28, is contracted to PSG until 2022, but there have been no talks over a stay beyond then.

The forward is expected to return from injury in PSG's Champions League last-16 first leg against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona appear to have found their replacement for the injured Ousmane Dembele. Sport reports the LaLiga giants have decided to pay Leganes forward Martin Braithwaite's release clause of €18million. Braithwaite has six goals in 24 LaLiga games this season.

- Bayern Munich are lining up a replacement for Jerome Boateng. France Football reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who has a €60m release clause, has become a priority for Bayern.

- With Champions League football next season slipping away from Roma, the Serie A club may be unable to sign Chris Smalling. Corriere dello Sport reports Tottenham, Everton and Juventus are interested in Smalling, with Manchester United wanting €20m (£16.7m) for the 30-year-old.

- Two of Arsenal 18-year-olds are apparently attracting interest from Liverpool. Football Insider reports the runaway Premier League leaders are looking at Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.

- Roma are considering a move for RB Leipzig right-back Lukas Klostermann, according to CalcioMercato. Klostermann, 23, has been capped eight times by Germany.

Manchester United left it very, very late, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the extra striker he wanted in the form of Odion Ighalo.

With a move for Bournemouth's Joshua King dead in the water, the Red Devils focused their efforts on a loan deal for the 30-year-old, who has been playing for Shanghai Shenhua since last February.

Ighalo's deal, which Omnisport understands does not include a purchase option, will give Solskjaer another option up front during the injury absence of Marcus Rashford.

He is expected to travel to England in the coming days before United publicly announce the signing.

Ighalo was far from the only major deal to be concluded late in the transfer window, though, as West Ham just managed to finalise the signing of Jarrod Bowen from Hull City for a reported initial fee of £22million.

Aston Villa also announced a new striker signing about 10 minutes before the window closed, Borja Baston joining on a free transfer from Swansea City.

Elsewhere in England, Tariq Lamptey took the decision to leave Chelsea and sign for Brighton and Hove Albion on a contract until 2023. The Seagulls have also brought back Alexis Mac Allister from Boca Juniors, where he was on loan.


LOANS GALORE

Sheffield United had a busy end to the window, securing the arrival of Panos Retsos - initially on loan but with the option of a permanent deal - from Bayer Leverkusen, while Ravel Morrison has been sent on loan to Middlesbrough, having made one Premier League appearance this season.

Leicester City have loaned Ryan Bennett from Wolves, with Filip Benkovic allowed to leave for Bristol City for the remainder of the campaign with a view to earning regular game time.

Everton have sent Jonas Lossl back to Huddersfield Town on loan, while Connor Wickham is also heading to the Championship, the Crystal Palace striker moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Wolves have secured the signing of Luke Matheson, who famously scored at Old Trafford in September as a 16-year-old, and loaned him back to Rochdale for the remainder of the season.

Leverkusen have also brought in a signing for the future, with Edmond Tapsoba arriving from Vitoria SC for a fee said to be between €16m and €18m.
 

SERIE A FLURRY

Italy's window closed a little earlier than some others and there was a flurry of deals around the deadline.

Marko Pjaca will get the chance to kick-start his career with Anderlecht, Juventus having allowed the winger to leave on loan for the remainder of the season as he looks to earn regular first-team football.

Milan have signed Alexis Saelemaekers, a highly rated 20-year-old from Anderlecht who arrives on loan with the option of a permanent move.

Fiorentina have had a busy end to the window. Kevin Agudelo has joined the Viola from Genoa on an 18-month loan deal, while Valentin Eysseric has been sent to Hellas Verona until June.

Maya Yoshida secured a switch to Sampdoria from Southampton, while Gaston Pereiro's move from PSV to Cagliari was ratified. He will be joined in Sardinia by Alberto Paloschi, with Alberto Cerri heading the other way to SPAL.

Gervinho, meanwhile, has taken another step in his nomadic career by moving to Al Sadd from Parma, who brought in Vasco Regini on loan from Samp.
 

BUSY BARCA

Barcelona will give new €10m signing Matheus Fernandes for time to acclimatise to LaLiga, spending the rest of 2019-20 with Real Valladolid.

Barca have also sent Moussa Wague on loan to Nice, who have the option of a €10m permanent deal, while Ligue 1 rivals Lyon have signed Camilo Reijers de Oliveira for €2m.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was a shock signing for Barca 12 months ago and the experienced forward is on the move again, this time heading to Besiktas on loan from Fiorentina.

Leganes bolstered their attacking depth with two loan deals, bringing in Roger Assale from Young Boys and former player Miguel Angel Guerrero from Olympiacos.

Getafe have landed Erick Cabaco on a permanent deal, the defender joining from Levante, Granada have signed Gil Dias on loan from Monaco, and Real Sociedad have sold Ruben Pardo to Bordeaux.

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, have loaned Emre Mor to Olympiacos, while a late, late deal that saw Nicolas Gaitan sign for Lille for the rest of the season was completed in time.

Quique Setien has no concerns about Barcelona failing to sign a striker in the January transfer window because Ousmane Dembele will be "amazing" when he returns from injury.

Barca director Guillermo Amor confirmed before Thursday's 5-0 Copa del Rey last-16 victory over Leganes that no back-up to Luis Suarez – ruled out until May with a knee injury – will be signed, negotiations for Valencia attacker Rodrigo Moreno having broken down.

Lionel Messi scored twice and was involved in the other three goals as Setien's side enjoyed serene progress to the quarter-finals, with Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur hitting the target.

Setien acknowledged the lack of a new signing leaves Barca's attack in a precarious position, though Dembele has been eased back into full training since the weekend having been sidelined since November with a thigh injury.

Asked about the lack of a signing, Setien said: "I will be calm. There is a risk of injury and it cannot be controlled. I am used to working with what I have.

"It was not to be. The market did not give us anything, but we will also recover Dembele.

"He is a player who has specific attributes and I think he can give us a lot. He feels comfortable out wide and we will try to take advantage of that.

"I'm sure he will give us a lot with the potential he has and will demonstrate the great player he is. Dembele is going to be amazing."

Dembele signed from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in August 2017 but has frequently struggled with injuries.

Barca's victory over Leganes saw them emphatically bounce back from the first defeat of Setien's tenure, a 2-0 loss to Valencia on Saturday that saw them fall three points behind Real Madrid in LaLiga's title race.

"We did very well in the first 20 to 25 minutes. It's true they could have hurt us, but we did many things well. However, I am not entirely satisfied," Setien said of Thursday's display.

"We scored but we lost control of the game and gave them a lot of life when we had to control the game."

Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona bounced back from their first defeat under Quique Setien with a resounding 5-0 victory over Leganes in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

A 2-0 loss at Valencia on Saturday resulted in reigning LaLiga champions Barca falling three points adrift of rivals Real Madrid in the title race, but they appeared to get right back on track at Camp Nou on Thursday.

Setien named a strong starting line-up and Antoine Griezmann took less than four minutes to open the scoring, with Clement Lenglet nodding in the second before the half-hour mark.

Messi extended their advantage with a fortuitous finish in the 59th minute, and he doubled his tally after substitute Arthur found the back of the net to send Barca breezing into the quarter-finals.

After Nelson Semedo played a give-and-go with Messi, he cut the ball back to Griezmann, who fired between Chidozie Awaziem's legs and into the bottom-left corner to give Barca an early lead.

Setien's team dominated possession and had a second goal for Griezmann ruled out in the ninth minute, with Jordi Alba deemed to have been marginally offside in the build-up.

Griezmann saw a deflected shot tipped around the post by Ivan Cuellar, but Lenglet nodded the resulting corner from Messi over the Leganes goalkeeper and into the far corner to increase Barca's advantage in the 27th minute.

The visitors sporadically threatened on the counter-attack, yet their hopes of getting back into the game were extinguished when Messi raced away on the right and beat Cuellar with the help of a deflection off Rodrigo Tarin.

Leganes coach Javier Aguirre was shown a yellow card for dissent, and his mood would not have improved in the 77th minute, Arthur firing home after Cuellar denied Ansu Fati and Awaziem blocked Messi on the initial follow-up.

Messi rounded off a magnificent display with one minute remaining by latching onto Ivan Rakitic's throughball, rounding Cuellar and sending the ball into the roof of the net.

 

What does it mean? Barca could rue not getting another striker

With a move for Valencia attacker Rodrigo Moreno having broken down, Barca director Guillermo Amor said they were happy to finish the transfer window without signing attacking cover for Luis Suarez, who has been ruled until close to the end of the season with a knee injury.

This match would have been a good opportunity for Barca to grant Griezmann and Messi a rest, even though they proved pivotal to the result. They are now even more crucial in the run-in and no risks can be taken with the star pairing.

Magical Messi

It was not a spectacular display from Barcelona, but Messi was involved in all five goals. He released Semedo for the opener, assisted Lenglet for the second and got the third and fifth himself. Arthur would not have got on the scoreboard were it not for the Argentina star's initial rebound either.

Not so sterling Silva

It was never going to be an easy task for Jonathan Silva, but he struggled to provide any resistance on the left and lost possession 12 times before being replaced by Kevin Rodrigues in the 57th minute.

What's next?

Barcelona host Levante in LaLiga on Sunday, when Leganes entertain Real Sociedad.

Diego Simeone insists he will only try to win back support "through actions, not words" after another disappointing day for Atletico Madrid.

Beaten by third-tier Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey this week, Atleti were held to a 0-0 draw on Sunday at home to Leganes, a team that started the day bottom of LaLiga.

With no wins and just one goal from their past four games in all competitions, questions have been raised about whether Simeone's undoubtedly successful time in charge at the club could be coming to an end.

Defeat in the derby to Real Madrid next Saturday will only intensify calls for the head coach to leave, but Simeone is determined to show he can salvage Atleti's season.

"I can't say anything to the people [who do not have faith]," he told reporters. "All I can do is show them through actions, not words. Words mean nothing.

"I'm respectful with everybody. I was whistled because I wasn't doing well in my second spell at the club [as a player]. The fans are critical when the team doesn't win. And it's for me to find solutions to that.

"The first thing we need to do is to get back working. After that, I'll make my decisions based on what I feel is best for the team. We have a week to return to peace and calm, which is something you need in football.

"I have a great squad and a few lads are expected back from injury this week. On Saturday, we will be going out with the hope of winning the match."

Simeone refused to criticise the Wanda Metropolitano fans for their support on Sunday and stressed Atleti could have won the game had they shown a more clinical edge in the second half.

"The public get you going, they get involved and do their part in encouraging the team," he said. "We've just played two games away from home that didn't turn out well and the fans were good today.

"On other days, you can easily end up losing games like this. We could have won the game in the second half."

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