Europe's major leagues have been shut down due to coronavirus, but Cristiano Ronaldo is still making headlines.

Ronaldo was in the midst of his second season with Juventus before the 2019-20 campaign was postponed last month.

But there are ongoing doubts over Ronaldo's future in Turin.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO LINKED TO MADRID RETURN

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo misses Real Madrid and a reunion with his former club is not just a suggestion, according to Calciomercato.

Ronaldo is reportedly unhappy at Serie A champions Juve amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and another former team, Manchester United.

However, Calciomercato's report claims Ronaldo has eyes on Madrid but it will take a significant sum to prise the 35-year-old from Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona have set their asking price for out-of-favour attacker Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich. The LaLiga champions want at least €80million (£70m) for the Brazilian. The likes of Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham have been linked.

- Diario AS says Borussia Dortmund are concerned about mounting speculation surrounding Madrid's interest in Erling Haaland. The Norwegian sensation only joined Dortmund in January.

Madrid are chasing Lille's midfield star Boubakary Soumare, according to Le10Sport. United and Liverpool have also been linked to the 21-year-old.

Juve are looking to complete a deal for Mauro Icardi, says Calciomercato. Icardi is on loan at PSG from Inter but the Argentina international wants to return to Italy.

Manchester City face an uphill battle trying to sign Raphael Varane. Defensa Central says Madrid are ready to turn down any bids for the Frenchman. According to Tuttosport, City have set their sights on three Inter players – Lautaro Martinez, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni. Martinez has been tipped to join Barca.

- Diario AS claims Barca are keeping tabs on Juve midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur. It comes as Marca says Atletico Madrid are leading the race to sign Ivan Rakitic from Barca.

Milan are eyeing three candidates should star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma leave the club, reports Calciomercato. Donnarumma has been linked to Chelsea, Madrid and PSG and Napoli's Alex Meret, Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso and Sporting CP's Luis Maximiano are being considered.

Casemiro admitted Real Madrid's loss to Real Betis could cost them the LaLiga title.

Madrid were stunned in a 2-1 defeat on Sunday, leaving them second to rivals Barcelona in the table with 11 matches remaining.

Casemiro said it could be the result that denies Madrid, who are two points adrift of Barca, the league title.

"They were superior and played better, there is no excuse, football is simple," the midfielder said, via the club's website.

"In LaLiga every game is difficult. To win LaLiga we have to play well in every game and we didn't play well.

"We have to keep working hard, we have not been up to the task and we have not played like we did against Barcelona.

"We are human too, but it could cost us the league title. We have to look at Eibar now."

While Karim Benzema's penalty cancelled out Sidnei's opener in the first half, Cristian Tello scored an 82nd-minute winner for Betis.

Madrid defender Raphael Varane urged his team to continue fighting late in the campaign.

"We lacked a lot of intensity, especially in the first half. We didn't play at the pace we wanted to and we let the opponents have the ball," he said.

"We're dropping important points, but we're confident we can fight until the end.

"We're trying very hard to get back to the top of the league and today was a drop in quality from everyone.

"We still have a lot of games left to play and we're confident we're going to get that intensity back."

Real Madrid coasted into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a classy 4-0 victory at Real Zaragoza on Wednesday.

Raphael Varane and Lucas Vazquez were on target in the first half of the last-16 clash at La Romareda as Madrid barely had to move out of second gear.

Vinicius Junior and substitute Karim Benzema then completed the job in a second period that was even more sedate than the opening 45 minutes.

Tougher tests are on the horizon for LaLiga's leaders, starting with El Derbi against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, but it was a job well done for Zinedine Zidane's side.

Madrid caught Zaragoza napping after six minutes when Toni Kroos' low ball across the box went through Vinicius' legs and was smashed in by Varane.

The visitors were playing as though the game were a mere training exercise, although Alphonse Areola had to be sharp to tip Shinji Kagawa's deflected shot over.

Miguel Linares' questionable decision to dribble out of his own area was punished as Kroos pick-pocketed the forward and laid on for Vazquez to brilliantly smash home Madrid's second.

Kagawa scooped an effort over in a rare moment of note in the second half before Madrid put the game beyond doubt.

Vinicius played a neat one-two with James Rodriguez and clipped his effort past Alvaro Raton into the bottom-right corner.

Areola kept out Luis Suarez's one-on-one effort, but Madrid had a fourth 11 minutes from time when Benzema tapped in from Dani Carvajal's teasing low centre at the end of a well-worked move.

 

What does it mean? Madrid tune up nicely for the derby

Zaragoza are riding high in the second tier but were no match for Madrid, who are now unbeaten in 20 matches across all competitions. Zidane will be happy his side did not have to shift through the gears ahead of Saturday's derby with Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid in Kroos control

Kroos was typically influential in the heart of Madrid's midfield and finished with two assists. The Germany international dictated the tempo from the centre of the park.

Lax Linares punished

Zaragoza were mainly chasing shadows but had a couple of moments, particularly through Kagawa, to threaten Madrid. Linares' ill-judged attempt to jink out of defence proved costly, though, as Madrid quickly made it 2-0 to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb and he was hauled off just before the hour.

What's next?

Madrid face the tricky task of a derby with Atletico in LaLiga on Saturday, while Zaragoza visit Cadiz a day later.

Zinedine Zidane believes Raphael Varane's brace in the 3-0 win at Getafe showed how Real Madrid do not only have to rely on their forwards to score goals.

Los Blancos returned to duty having scored just once in their previous three LaLiga matches, but France international Varane netted either side of half-time to put them firmly in control against Jose Bordalas' men.

Luka Modric added a third deep into additional time to wrap up Madrid's biggest league win since November 9, and Zidane said his side's patience had paid off in the derby fixture.

"I already said that you have to be calm in front of goal," the Madrid coach told reporters.

"You have to be calm because sometimes the ball does not fit. And with goals today from Varane, it shows that we have many resources to score.

"For us, it is important to win here because it is a very complicated league. The boys have been plugged in since minute one with great intensity."

Zidane also paid tribute to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who kept his third consecutive clean sheet to help his side go top of the table, albeit with previous leaders Barcelona playing later on Saturday.

The Belgium international was unbeatable in goalless draws with Barca and Athletic Bilbao prior to the mid-season break, leading to Zidane underlining the importance of his performances.

"I am happy for him and sure he is happy with his work," Zidane said of Courtois. "We are happy for him and he is for us.

"We have suffered in some games and Courtois has been very good. We have played as a team, which is the most important in these games and against these teams.

"We achieved a good result as a team, thanks to everyone’s efforts."

Raphael Varane scored one and played a big part in another as Real Madrid returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory away at neighbours Getafe that took them top of LaLiga.

Madrid drew three straight league matches prior to the two-week break, including back-to-back games without scoring, but got back on track on their return to action on Saturday.

The visitors ended their goalless run in fortuitous circumstances as opposition keeper David Soria helped the ball into his own net under pressure from Varane.

Varane headed in a second eight minutes into the second half at Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez and Luka Modric tapped home a late third as Madrid saw things through to move a point above Barcelona after playing a game more.

Madrid fired a blank at this ground last term but edged in front after 34 minutes on this latest visit, Soria getting the final touch after Varane beat him to Ferland Mendy's cross.

The visitors relied on Thibaut Courtois to keep them in front, though, the Belgium keeper denying Faycal Fajr and Leandro Cabrera with impressive saves at the end of the first half.

And those stops proved defining as, two minutes after Getafe had a penalty shout for handball against Eder Militao rejected, Varane powered home a header that was allowed to stand after a lengthy VAR check.

Gareth Bale was thwarted by Soria from a one-on-one late on but Madrid scored a third in added time through Modric, who had a simple finish after being teed up by substitute Federico Valverde at the end of a swift counter.


What does it mean? Madrid back on track

Back-to-back blanks for Los Blancos made it advantage Barcelona heading into the mid-season break in Spain's top flight.

This Varane-inspired victory moves them a point above Barca, who play their game in hand against Catalan rivals Espanyol later on Saturday.

Another clean sheet for Courtois

Courtois was last month described as the best goalkeeper in the world by his Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez and the ex-Chelsea shot-stopper has certainly stepped up of late.

This was his third clean sheen on the spin, secured thanks to two fine stops in the space of 163 seconds at the end of a closely contested first half.

Stranded Soria gifts goal to Madrid

Getafe could have gone fourth with victory and were arguably the side on top when the visitors opened the scoring via a huge helping hand - literally - from former Madrid youth product Soria.

He attempted to punch clear Mendy's left-sided delivery but Varane got the slightest of glances to it first, with the final touch coming off Soria's gloves for an own goal.

What's next?

Madrid turn focus to Wednesday's Supercopa de Espana semi-final with Valencia in Jeddah, while Getafe face third-tier side Badalona in the Copa del Rey second round on their return to action in a week's time.

Raphael Varane recounted the occasion he snapped at Cristiano Ronaldo in Real Madrid training for not calling him by his first name, though he insists he was not disrespectful to the Portugal great.

France international Varane has been at Madrid for almost nine years, having joined from Lens as a highly rated teenager.

As such, the centre-back was a long-time team-mate of Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu, before the former Manchester United forward left for Juventus in 2018.

Ronaldo is known for his often-intense personality and commitment in training, and Varane reminisced about the time he bit back at Los Blancos' then-talisman.

"'Varane, go into the middle,'" Ronaldo is said to have barked, to which Varane claims he replied: "I'm not Varane, I'm Rapha!"

But the 26-year-old says he was not showing Ronaldo a lack of respect, rather showing a bit of character.

"It was not disrespectful," Varane told Onze Mondial. "I am super nice, I am great, even in the dressing room. I am also quite shy.

"But when there are difficult times or when you have to show your character, you can count on me. The players who have known me for a while know this.

"Of course, it's not the aspect of my character that you see the most or that you see first. It was not a matter of respect or disrespect, it was just a matter of, 'If I'm not seen, I'm not considered much.'

"After that it was more like: 'Oh, I am also here, I also have a name.' It was more like that."

Any issues with Ronaldo start and end there, however, with Varane lavishing his former colleague with praise for his achievements.

"He's great, great, on a human level - and on a footballing level, I don't even have words anymore," Varane said.

"He's accomplished something extraordinary: he made his incredible achievements seem banal.

"And to do that… there are no words to explain it, it's huge, it's extraordinary. He taught me a lot and also surprised me. How many times have I said to myself: 'Wow, this is incredible.'"

Clement Lenglet called for two contentious refereeing decisions to be respected after Real Madrid were left disgruntled with VAR during Wednesday's goalless Clasico.

The Barcelona defender was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he caught Raphael Varane's thigh with a raised boot in the first half at Camp Nou.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez allowed play to continue and decided against punishing another apparent infringement on Varane a few moments later, the Madrid centre-back tumbling to the floor following a tug on his shirt from Ivan Rakitic.

Neither incident was reviewed on the pitchside monitor as video official opted not to intervene.

Madrid called attention to the "two controversial moments" in a statement on their website after captain Sergio Ramos criticised the failure of technology to fix what he viewed as "pretty clear" fouls.

Lenglet disagreed and said the decisions should be respected.

"For me, it's not a penalty," he told Movistar when asked about his challenge on fellow France defender Varane.

"I wanted to get the ball out with my head and give strength to my movement. I used my body and legs for that and unfortunately I touched Raphael's leg.

"I'm the protagonist and I know I'm going to clear the ball. I'm not a player who likes to kick people. But if some believe it's a penalty, it's up to the VAR.

"The VAR made a decision and must be respected."

Madrid winger Gareth Bale later had a goal disallowed for an offside against Ferland Mendy as neither side mustered a winner.

Jordi Alba squandered a good chance for Barca before Lionel Messi, who had one attempt cleared off the line, made a mess of a late opportunity to snatch all three points.

"We had clear scoring chances," Lenglet said. "Two for Messi, Luis Suarez. We're left with a bittersweet feeling.

"Madrid are a team with quality and when they come here, they come more to defend."

Real Madrid publicly highlighted the perceived injustice of multiple unsuccessful penalty shouts following their goalless Clasico draw against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Raphael Varane had two strong appeals turned down in the first half, the first for a high challenge from Barca defender Clement Lenglet at Camp Nou following a free-kick midweek.

Barca's Ivan Rakitic had grappled with the defender in the seconds before that incident and then tugged Varane's shirt when competing for a corner moments later in the LaLiga blockbuster showdown.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez let play continue and neither incident was checked using the VAR pitchside monitor.

Sergio Ramos described them as "pretty clear" penalties and Madrid called attention to the "two controversial moments" in a statement on their website.

It read: "The Frenchman could have had two penalties in the first half but Hernandez Hernandez did not give either of them.

"On minute 17, [Varane] went to head a corner before Lenglet stood on his thigh muscle in the area, but neither the referee nor VAR [where (Ricardo) de Burgos Bengoetxea was in charge] deemed it a penalty.

"Two minutes later and following another corner, the central defender had his shirt pulled by Ivan Rakitic, which saw him end up on the ground in the penalty area.

"However, once again, neither the referee or the VAR system decided to award the penalty."

Madrid winger Gareth Bale had a goal disallowed for an offside against Ferland Mendy after half-time as both sides failed to muster a winner.

The stalemate left them level on points in LaLiga, but Barca hold the advantage on goal difference.

Sergio Ramos questioned why VAR was not used to check two "clear" fouls on Raphael Varane in the penalty area during Wednesday's goalless Clasico.

In the first half at Camp Nou, Varane was caught by a high challenge from compatriot Clement Lenglet and then had his shirt pulled by Ivan Rakitic when competing for a corner.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez did not award a penalty and neither incident was checked using the VAR pitchside monitor midweek.

Madrid captain Ramos was left bemused as to why VAR did not intervene, having watched back the footage at half-time.

"We saw them at the break and they look pretty clear. They're both penalties, but we can't change that now," he said to Movistar.

"VAR is here to help. It's bad luck. On another day, it'll be our turn to have a penalty that they don't check."

Gareth Bale saw a second-half goal correctly disallowed for offside after a VAR check, as Madrid failed to make their early dominance count and Barca's front three struggled to get into the game.

The result means defending champions Barca remain top of LaLiga but level on points with Madrid, who are now unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions.

Ramos, who became the top appearance-maker in the fixture's history as he played Madrid's fierce rivals for the 43rd time, is frustrated the mid-season break starts after Sunday's game against Athletic Bilbao as he wants to sustain momentum.

"You can't be happy when you don't win, but getting something here is always positive," he said.

"We saw a great Real Madrid today, with a lot of personality, on a very tough pitch. We went to steal the ball, which helped us create many chances. There were few mistakes and that's the end result.

"We controlled the game quite well. We had more chances than them. It's not easy to get the ball off them. The strategy of pressing high worked well.

"We're going through a great dynamic in terms of play and we're also good physically. It's a shame the year is ending - we'd like this not to stop.

"Now, we have Athletic and hopefully we'll continue like this after the holidays."

Treating Barcelona captain Lionel Messi like a normal opponent will only end in El Clasico misery for Real Madrid, Raphael Varane has warned.

France international Varane and his fellow Madrid defenders will have their hands full when they square off against Barca's expensively assembled front three for the first time on Wednesday.

Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann have already scored four goals between them in December and will hope to help fire the champions three points clear of their LaLiga title rivals at Camp Nou.

Barca captain Messi remains the most obvious danger to the visitors' 11-game undefeated streak and, though the Ballon d'Or winner has failed to score in his past three Clasico appearances, centre-back Varane insisted every single Madrid player would have to do their bit to curb his influence.

"He is a special player and you can't defend him like any other player," Varane said, courtesy of LaLiga.

"He has his characteristics and he demands great focus from you and you have to defend him together with your team-mates.

"It's a collective effort... we have to leave him as little space as possible."

Both sides drew their last LaLiga games but have been in good form, with Barca having won their previous seven across all competitions.

Some critics have accused Ernesto Valverde of deviating too far from the club's ingrained playing principles, but Varane expected to confront a familiar challenge.

"I don't see much of a difference," he said. "They always have the same identity and playing style out on the pitch and the same philosophy, and the important players are the same.

"We know that it's always difficult to play against them but at the same time we know what to expect."

Varane tipped both teams to deliver a spectacle befitting what he claimed was the highest-quality fixture in world football. 

"I believe that in these kinds of games you always want to come into them with confidence," the 26-year-old said.

"But it's special, no doubt. When both teams take to the field they leave their doubts aside, it's a battle. It doesn't really matter how the last few games have been.

"When you step out onto the field, everything's different."

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been rewarded for his brilliant display up against Raheem Sterling in the Manchester derby, earning inclusion in FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week.

Manchester United claimed a fine 2-1 win at the home of the champions on Saturday, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial getting the goals.

But arguably just as vital was the performance of Wan-Bissaka at right-back, as the England Under-21 international played an integral role in nullifying Sterling, one of the Premier League's form players.

Wan-Bissaka completed a match-high five tackles – one a last-ditch challenge to deny Sterling what looked set to be a certain goal – and also made seven clearances.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane is back in the TOTW for the second time, while Serie A's chief creator Luis Alberto lines up in midfield having set up another two goals in Lazio's 3-1 win over Juventus, taking his campaign tally to 11, five more than anyone else in the competition.

Unsurprisingly there is also a place in the team for Real Betis' Joaquin after he became the oldest player in LaLiga history to score a hat-trick, while Memphis Depay and Marco Reus lead the line.

Below, we take a look at the latest squad in full.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United) – 83

CB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) – 82

CB: Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 83

CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – 86

LM: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – 90

CDM: Charles Aranguiz (Bayer Leverkusen) – 85

CDM: Luis Alberto (Lazio) – 87

CM: Morgan Sanson (Marseille) – 82

RM: Joaquin (Real Betis) – 83

CF: Memphis Depay (Lyon) – 86

CF: Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) – 89

SUBSTITUTES:

GK: Luigi Sepe (Parma) – 81

CB: Guillermo Maripan (Monaco) – 82

LM: Cristian Ansaldi (Torino) – 82

CAM: Matheus Pereira (West Brom) – 81

ST: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – 84

ST: Cristhian Stuani (Girona) – 82

RF: Lukas Podolski (Vissel Kobe) – 81

RESERVES:

CM: Cristian Battocchio (Brest) – 78

CM: Carlos Sierra (America de Cali) – 73

ST: Vinicius (Benfica) – 79

ST: Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC) – 78

ST: Josh Maja (Bordeaux) – 75

Real Madrid extended their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions with a straightforward 2-0 win over struggling Espanyol on Saturday.

Raphael Varane opened his season account and sent Los Blancos on their way to a fourth consecutive LaLiga victory with a left-footed finish in the 37th minute.

Karim Benzema made the points safe when he swept home Federico Valverde's pass 11 minutes from full-time, making Ferland Mendy's late sending off for a needless second booking the only blight on an otherwise unfussy showing.

Madrid's win momentarily edges them three points ahead of title rivals Barcelona, who host Mallorca later on Saturday.

Vinicius Junior started for the first time since October and registered two attempts on target inside the opening 30 minutes.

Thibaut Courtois clawed away Esteban Granero's header between those chances before Varane made the breakthrough.

The defender stayed forward following a corner and finished with impressive poise after Benzema created space through neat footwork.

Vinicius escaped a potential second yellow for an ungainly collision with David Lopez, then forced goalkeeper Diego Lopez into a near-post save.

Espanyol's number one prevented Benzema from doubling the margin when the French striker broke through on goal after the interval.

Benzema squandered another good chance to put the result beyond doubt 20 minutes from full-time, turning wide from Rodrygo's cut-back.

But the 31-year-old was not to be denied, his unerring low finish after Valverde's fine build-play ensuring the late loss of Mendy for a silly foul on Victor Gomez counted for little.
 

What does it mean? Madrid building towards El Clasico

The rescheduled first Clasico of the season is fast approaching and Madrid look set to take a good deal of confidence to Camp Nou on December 18.

Zinedine Zidane's men have two games to negotiate before that big test but the head coach will be pleased with how his side has moved on from a middling start to the season.


Vinicius excites in Madrid sunshine

Vinicius has struggled for minutes this season but here it was simple to see why Zidane has ruled out a loan move.

The winger was vibrant and incisive on the left flank, with a sense of over-eagerness perhaps the only area for improvement.


Marching orders for Mendy

The absence of Marcelo due to a calf strain offered an opportunity to France defender Mendy and he had been perfectly serviceable for over 80 minutes.

That will have made it all the more frustrating for Zidane when his second-choice left-back left a foot in on Victor Gomez for the second time in the space of 20 second-half minutes, earning him a red card and forcing him out of the next match against Valencia.


What's next?

Madrid conclude their Champions League group stage commitments with a midweek trip to Club Brugge, then visit Valencia on Sunday.

Espanyol have a Europa League game at home to CSKA Moscow before next weekend's date with Real Betis.

France marked their qualification for Euro 2020 with a 2-1 victory as Olivier Giroud's penalty ended Moldova’s resistance at Stade de France.

Turkey's draw with Iceland earlier on Thursday had lifted any pressure off France, guaranteeing their place at next year's tournament, and Didier Deschamps' side put in a rather underwhelming display in Paris.

With no requirement to win, France made a sloppy start - calamitous Clement Lenglet defending handing Vadim Rata a chance to put Moldova ahead.

Alexei Koselev's error gifted Raphael Varane an equaliser, though, and France moved top of Group H when Giroud sent Moldova's goalkeeper the wrong way after Lucas Digne had been scythed down.

Against the run of play, Moldova hit the front in the ninth minute as Lenglet twice failed to clear with attempted headers - Rata nipping in to steer the visitors into an unlikely lead.

Benjamin Pavard went close to an immediate equaliser with a dipping half-volley, while Giroud should have done better from Digne's cross.

Giroud did play a part in France's leveller 10 minutes before the break, standing his ground as Koselev - who wanted a free-kick - let the ball slip from his grasp, allowing Varane on hand to head home.

Kylian Mbappe seemed set to make it 2-1 early in the second half, only for his goal-bound strike to be blocked by a Moldova defender, before Giroud volleyed over from close range.

For all their domination, France's efforts looked likely to prove fruitless, until Veaceslav Posmac's reckless lunge on Digne.

Giroud made no mistake, slamming in his third goal in as many appearances to complete the comeback with 11 minutes remaining.

 

What does it mean? France join the party

France's qualification was already ensured, meaning Les Bleus - beaten finalists at Euro 2016 - will now take part in their 13th successive major international competition, and Deschamps' focus will now be on securing top spot in Group H.

Giroud's run rolls on

He may not be getting much of a chance at Chelsea, but Giroud is one of the first names on Deschamps' team sheet and, while he missed some presentable chances, still kept up his fine run of form on the international stage.

Lenglet left red-faced - but Koselev lets him off the hook

Barcelona centre-back Lenglet should have coped comfortably with a high ball by heading it back to Steve Mandanda, but Koselev helped France recover, the keeper fazed by Giroud’s presence to gift Varane an equaliser.

What's next?

Les Bleus round off their qualification campaign against Albania on Sunday, while Moldova host Iceland.

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

France head coach Didier Deschamps refused to be drawn into the geopolitical controversy surrounding Turkey's national team ahead of Monday's Euro 2020 qualification showdown.

Some of Turkey's players gave a military-style salute after Cenk Tosun's winning goal against Albania in Istanbul on Friday – actions that have been widely interpreted as a gesture of a support of the armed offensive against Kurds in Syria.

UEFA is looking into the matter but Deschamps wishes to focus squarely upon securing the victory that would secure a place at next year's finals for the world champions.

"We know the importance of the match. It's a confrontation against an opponent who has the same number of points as us," he told a pre-match news conference for the game at the Stade de France.

"There will be a good atmosphere, that's obvious. As for the geopolitical problems, they are there but we will not think about that.

"We are in a sporting sphere. We must stay focused on it.

"I will not go into this debate [about Turkey's goal celebration]. What interests me is just the match."

Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane was similarly one-track in his assessment of opponents who prevailed when they last met at the Torku Arena in June

"It [the celebration controversy] is not something that concerns us. We, we have an extra motivation, which is due to the pitch and our bad performance at Konya," he said.

"We want to make a great football match and give pleasure to the fans. And to qualify of course."

However, Deschamps feels being motivated solely by a desire for revenge would be counter-productive against a foe he rates highly.

"There is never revenge. We will not recover points that we lost," he said. "They beat us at home and that's another game.

"It's just a match that can be decisive. We have to make things happen differently this time.

"There is nothing positive to keep for us from that game at Konya, except Hugo Lloris' performance. We failed and they were very good. But it will not necessarily be the same match.

"Turkey are a team that has 18 points and they did not steal them. They are efficient and strong.

"They have only conceded two goals [during qualification] from set pieces. They have interesting offensive potential also with [Burak] Yilmaz, [Cenk] Tosun and [Hakan] Calhanoglu.

"They are experienced and animated by a state of mind and a passion. They've played some very good matches, especially against us. They have character."

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