Santi Cazorla said Villarreal will always be his "home" after the veteran star bid farewell to the LaLiga club amid links to Xavi's Al-Sadd in Qatar.

Cazorla and long-serving captain Bruno Soriano played their final match for Villarreal in a 4-0 final-round rout of Eibar on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Cazorla, who has made a big impact in his third spell with Villarreal after returning from a serious Achilles injury in 2018 following 636 days on the sidelines, has been linked with a move to Al-Sadd – coached by former Barcelona skipper Xavi.

And former Arsenal playmaker Cazorla bowed out on a winning note with Villareal, providing the assist for Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa's 71st-minute opener at home to Eibar.

Cazorla ended the 2019-20 campaign with 11 goals and 10 assists as Villareal finished fifth in LaLiga to qualify for the Europa League.

"I'm eternally grateful to this club and the fans for having opened the doors to me and for all the love they've shown me for so long," Cazorla, who was replaced in the 82nd minute, said via the club's website.

"I've had a great time, but it's time to end this stage of my career. It's a decision I've thought about a lot. Every game I find it harder to give 100 per cent and I had to be honest with myself and the club.

"I feel that this club is inside me. It isn't a goodbye, it's a 'we'll meet again', because Villarreal CF will always be my home."

Bruno also made an emotional swansong on the final day of the season at Madrigal, with the 36-year-old retiring after more than 300 appearances for Villarreal.

The one-club player returned to the field in June following more than three years on the sidelines due to two operations and a painful recovery.

"I've thought about it a lot and I've taken this tough decision. I've realised that my body is no longer able to give 100 per cent and play 90 minutes week in, week out, which is what I've always wanted to do. That's why I've taken the decision to end my career," Bruno said.

"This club is part of my life and that doesn't stop here. I am going to continue coming to cheer on the team every Sunday, alongside the rest of the fans and those who love this club."

Villarreal have confirmed Santi Cazorla will leave the LaLiga club and Bruno Soriano is to retire after Sunday's clash with Elbar.

Cazorla has made a big impact in his third spell with the Yellow Submarine since returning in 2018 after a serious Achilles injury.

The 35-year-old playmaker, who did not play for 636 days prior to his comeback two years ago, has scored 11 goals and provided nine assists in the Spanish top flight this season.

Cazorla will play his last game for the club this weekend, though, and has been linked with a move to Qatari club Al Sadd - coached by former Barcelona captain Xavi.

It has also been reported that Cazorla could take up a coaching role with Arsenal, but a switch to Qatar looks more likely for a player who earned a Spain recall last year.

Cazorla told Villarreal TV ahead of his final appearance: "Villarreal have given me everything. When I was 18, they gave me all the confidence.

"A guy from Oviedo who was unknown almost for everyone."

Long-serving skipper Soriano will make an emotional swansong on the final day of the season at El Madrigal.

The 36-year-old, a one-club man, has made over 300 appearances for Villarreal since making his debut 14 years ago.

"What I am going to be, for now, it is being the fan number one of Villarreal. Villarreal will be part of my life forever." he said.

Alvaro Morata scored the fastest goal of the LaLiga season after just 51 seconds but Atletico Madrid had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo.

Morata followed up his double in the win over Real Mallorca last Friday by striking in the first minute at Estadio de Balaidos.

Fran Beltran deservedly levelled early in the second half with his first goal of the season to move Celta seven points clear of the relegation zone with three matches to play, although third-bottom Mallorca have a game in hand.

Third-placed Atleti are unbeaten in 15 games and a draw keeps them on course to secure a Champions League spot.

Atleti could not have wished for a better start, Angel Correa taking a pass from Santiago Arias and picking out Morata for a tap in with less than a minute on the clock.

Celta responded to that early blow and Brais Mendez's deflected strike went into the side-netting before the midfielder curled a shot wide of the far post.

Diego Simeone's side could have doubled their lead late in the first half, but Correa was unable to apply the finish as he charged into the penalty area.

Celta were level just four minutes after the restart, Beltran not getting a clean contact on Mendez's cross but seeing his volley loop into the far corner with Jan Oblak helpless.

Oscar Garcia's men did not look like a side in danger of the drop and Mendez was denied by the busy Oblak, who then palmed Santi Mina's strike away for a corner.

Ivan Villar came on to replace injured Celta goalkeeper Ruben Blanco with nine minutes to play and he denied Thomas Lemar, with the home side also having a penalty appeal dismissed following a VAR check late on.

 

What does it mean? Atleti a step closer to Champions League spot

Atleti lead Sevilla, who have a game in hand, by three points and are nine better off than fifth-placed Villarreal in the battle for Champions League spots.

On the evidence of this showing, in which they could have secured a surprise win, Celta ought to have enough to avoid relegation.

Morata on a roll

Striker Morata led the line well for Atleti and was in the right place at the right time to score his third goal in two games right in a dream start.

He now has 16 goals for the season in all competitions and it looks like there will be more to come.

Llorente stifled

It was certainly not one of the Marcos Llorente's better nights as he struggled to stamp his authority on the game before being withdrawn midway through the second half.

What's next?

Atleti entertain Real Betis on Saturday, when Celta travel to mid-table Osasuna.

Sergio Ramos scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot as Real Madrid beat Getafe 1-0 to go four points clear at the top of LaLiga.

The leaders were far from convincing in a frantic derby at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on Thursday, but captain Ramos secured a precious victory 11 minutes from time after Mathias Olivera was adjudged to have upended Dani Carvajal.

Victory for Los Blancos, who rested Eden Hazard, was their sixth in a row and they are strong favourites to dethrone stuttering Barcelona with five matches to play.

Getafe were unfortunate to make the short journey home without a point, but Madrid march on in their pursuit of the title.

Christophe Dugarry has apologised for calling Lionel Messi a "half autistic kid" while laying into Antoine Griezmann.

Griezmann has failed to live up to expectations since joining Barcelona in a big-money move from Atletico Madrid last July.

The France forward this week came in for stinging criticism from his compatriot Dugarry, who suggested his fellow World Cup winner is scared of playing alongside Messi.

Dugarry has come under fire for his comments about the six-time Ballon d'Or winner on RMC Sport following Barca's 2-2 LaLiga draw with Atleti on Tuesday.

The former France striker said: "What is [Griezmann] afraid of? A kid who is 1.5 metres tall and half autistic?

"All he has to do is show some balls at some point. I've been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to hit him in the face.

"It's true that Messi could give him more passes, but honestly I am not surprised. Griezmann loses balls, doesn't play with confidence. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to solve the problem.

"People have been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to give himself a slap in the face. Yes, maybe Messi could give him more passes, but it really doesn't surprise me.

"Griezmann loses possession. He plays scared. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to resolve the problem."

Dugarry apologised for his comments on Twitter, although he later removed the post.

"I am sincerely sorry for the extent and the response to my comments on Lionel Messi," he wrote.

"I did not want to stigmatise people with autism disorders, it was not my intention. I apologise to the people I offended and will [apologise] again at 6 p.m. on Team Duga [Dugarry's radio show] this evening."

Neymar has been ordered by a judge to pay Barcelona €6.7million over a contract dispute with the LaLiga champions.

The Paris Saint-German and Brazil forward had claimed he was owed €43.6million by Barca in unpaid bonuses.

Neymar insisted he was due the huge sum as a loyalty bonus, having signed a new five-year contract with the Catalan giants in 2016.

The Brazil international, who joined PSG for a world record fee of €222m in August 2017, has instead been told he must fork out to his former employers - although an appeal could be lodged.

Barca, who have been linked with a move to re-sign Neymar, welcomed the verdict on Friday.

A club statement said: "FC Barcelona expresses its satisfaction with the verdict announced today by Social Court 15 in Barcelona in relation to the lawsuit involving FC Barcelona and the player Neymar Jr regarding the amount of the signing bonus in the final renewal of the player's contract.

"The ruling has fully dismissed the player's claim for payment of 43.6 million euros, and has accepted a large part of the defence presented by FC Barcelona, as a result of which the player must return €6.7million to the club.

"Since the player's representative is entitled to appeal this decision, the club shall continue to fervently defend its legitimate interests."

Brazil legend Ronaldo would try and lure Kylian Mbappe to Real Valladolid if he had Real Madrid's budget, revealing he sees similarities between himself and the France international. 

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo stated recently that the club has no intention of selling star duo Mbappe or Neymar. 

Mbappe has often been linked with a big-money move to Madrid but has two years remaining on his contract. 

Former Madrid star Ronaldo is a majority shareholder of LaLiga side Valladolid and can only dream of being in a position to sign the World Cup winner, who had scored 18 goals in 20 league appearances before the season was cut short in France. 

Speaking at a media event sponsored by Santander Bank, Ronaldo said: "I would sign Mbappe [if Valladolid had Madrid's money], he is the one who most reminds me of me and my playing times." 

Ronaldo also spoke of his admiration for Erling Haaland, but is not convinced Madrid would need the Borussia Dortmund striker while they have Karim Benzema.

"Haaland is a great player, he is still young and has had a pretty good year with many goals, we will see how he ends it," he said.

"Surely big teams are going to be watching, but Real Madrid have good players, like Benzema who scores goals every Sunday."

Five players in the top two tiers of Spanish football have tested positive for the coronavirus.

La Liga and Segunda Division players have been undergoing tests ahead of a potential resumption to the 2019-20 season, which was halted in March due to the health pandemic.

It was announced by LaLiga on Sunday that five players from unspecified clubs have tested positive for the virus and are in isolation.

A La Liga statement said: "Specifically, between the LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank clubs, five positive cases have been detected in players, all of them asymptomatic and in the final phase of the disease, whose specific identity LaLiga does not know in compliance with the organic law on data protection. 

The players in question will be tested again in the next few days and can only return to training after two negative results.

Barcelona were among the clubs to resume individual training this week in Spain, with talk that the campaign could restart in June.

Atletico Madrid returned to training on Saturday amid media reports Renan Lodi has tested positive for the virus.

The Brazilian left-back is asymptomatic, Marca reported, but there was no official word on his health from Atletico. However, the club did tweet: "Renan Lodi salutes you from home. See you soon on the pitch!".

Real Madrid, meanwhile, will welcome their players back to work at the club's facilities on Monday.

Five players in the top two tiers of Spanish football have tested positive for the coronavirus.

La Liga and Segunda Division players have been undergoing tests ahead of a potential resumption to the 2019-20 season, which was halted in March due to the health pandemic.

It was announced by LaLiga on Sunday that five players from unspecified clubs have tested positive for the virus and are in isolation.

A La Liga statement said: "Specifically, between the LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank clubs, five positive cases have been detected in players, all of them asymptomatic and in the final phase of the disease, whose specific identity LaLiga does not know in compliance with the organic law on data protection. 

The players in question will be tested again in the next few days and can only return to training after two negative results.

Barcelona were among the clubs to resume individual training this week in Spain, with talk that the campaign could restart in June.

Atletico Madrid returned to training on Saturday amid media reports Renan Lodi has tested positive for the virus.

The Brazilian left-back is asymptomatic, Marca reported, but there was no official word on his health from Atletico. However, the club did tweet: "Renan Lodi salutes you from home. See you soon on the pitch!".

Real Madrid, meanwhile, will welcome their players back to work at the club's facilities on Monday.

Five players in the top two tiers of Spanish football have tested positive for the coronavirus.

La Liga and Segunda Division players have been undergoing tests ahead of a potential resumption to the 2019-20 season, which was halted in March due to the health pandemic.

It was announced by LaLiga on Sunday that five players from unspecified clubs have tested positive for the virus and are in isolation.

A La Liga statement said: "Specifically, between the LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank clubs, five positive cases have been detected in players, all of them asymptomatic and in the final phase of the disease, whose specific identity LaLiga does not know in compliance with the organic law on data protection. 

The players in question will be tested again in the next few days and can only return to training after two negative results.

Barcelona were among the clubs to resume individual training this week in Spain, with talk that the campaign could restart in June.

Atletico Madrid returned to training on Saturday amid media reports Renan Lodi has tested positive for the virus.

The Brazilian left-back is asymptomatic, Marca reported, but there was no official word on his health from Atletico. However, the club did tweet: "Renan Lodi salutes you from home. See you soon on the pitch!".

Real Madrid, meanwhile, will welcome their players back to work at the club's facilities on Monday.

Atletico Madrid and England defender Kieran Trippier has been hit with a misconduct charge over allegedly breaching Football Association (FA) betting regulations.

The former Tottenham full-back is alleged to have breached rules E8(1)(a) and E8(1)(b) last July.

Rule E8(1)(a) states: "A participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on – (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters."

While Rule E8(1)(b) stipulates: "Where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting."

Trippier has until May 18 to respond to the charges. 

The 29-year-old joined Atleti from Spurs in July 2019 on a three-year deal for a reported fee of $25million.

Simon Kjaer remains hopeful of completing a permanent switch from Sevilla to Milan at the end of the season.

The Denmark captain moved to San Siro on loan for the rest of the 2019-20 campaign in January.

Milan have an option to keep 31-year-old Kjaer in Serie A when his temporary deal comes to an end.

The centre-back has made it clear he wants to remain with the Rossoneri, but a decision is not likely to be made in the near future with the season suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Mikkel Beck's, Kjaer's agent, told Stats Perform: "The club has a buy-out they can use until a certain date.

"At the moment we are obviously in a position of having to wait to know if they will take use of the buy-out clause.

"We hope they will because Simon is very happy at the club and he's played very well. We have to wait and see but we are hoping for a positive answer from Milan, because he would like to stay."

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez says footballers will be able to return to individual training with their clubs from next Monday.

LaLiga's season was suspended indefinitely on March 23 due to the coronavirus crisis, with strict lockdown measures applied in Spain.

Those restrictions are being gradually eased and Sanchez on Tuesday announced players will be allowed to train on their own at club facilities from the start of next week.

The prime minister added group training sessions would not be allowed until May 18.

There was no word on when the season might be able to resume, with a potential June return talked of despite warnings from the likes of FIFA's medical chief Michel D'Hooghe that there should be no matches until late August or September.

Sanchez revealed that four phases for the easing of restrictions have been agreed by minister counsels, subject to developments.

He said: "The first phase, or phase 0, is the phase of preparation for the transition period where we are currently are.

"Another example would be the resumption of individual training for professional athletes and the basic training for professional leagues.

"Within the phase one or initial phase, depending on some factors, the beginning of some activities will be allowed.

"In the sports world, it is believed high training centres and intermediate training sessions for professional leagues can be opened.

"Therefore, we will be in the new normality by the end of June if we are able to control the evolving of the pandemic in every single territory."

France's Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 campaigns were ended on Tuesday when French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced that professional football will not be able to resume before September.

That followed the decisions to cancel the Eredivisie season last week and the domestic campaign in Argentina.

 

FIFA's medical chief Michel D'Hooghe believes there should be no football until the start of next season with concerns over a "second attack" of the coronavirus.

The Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 campaigns were ended on Tuesday when French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that professional football will not be able to resume before September.

The Eredivisie has also been cancelled along with the domestic season in Argentina, but they are planning to get under way again in countries such as England, Spain, Germany and Italy.

D'Hooghe is concerned that finances are being put ahead of health.

He told the Daily Telegraph said: "We are all subject to decisions at national level from the public authorities. It is very simple. Football suddenly becomes not the most important thing in life.

"I will be happy if we can start, in a convenient way, the next championship and have nothing before the start of next season.

'If they could start the season 2020-21 at the end of August or beginning of September I would be happy. Then they could eventually avoid a second attack from the virus, which is not impossible.

"Everyone has to be very careful for the moment. I have heard in many countries they are thinking about playing football again, with or without the public.

"In my long career I have seen many situations where there has been a balance between economics and health. Mostly the economics won, whether that was about jetlag or football at altitude or in extreme conditions such as pollution situations.

"If there is one circumstance where medical arguments should win against economical arguments, it is now. It is not a matter of money, it is a matter of life and death. It is very simple."

Real Madrid moved three points clear at the top of LaLiga after Nacho scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

With title rivals Barcelona slipping to a 2-0 defeat to Valencia on Saturday, Zidane's men earned a hard-fought victory over a Valladolid side that came into the game unbeaten in three league matches.

Chances were few and far between at either end and the points looked likely to be shared after Karim Benzema missed from point-blank range with only Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip to beat.

But Nacho arrived in the box to head home with 12 minutes left and put his side in the driving seat at a crucial stage in the title race.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.