Sergio Ramos was Real Madrid's penalty hero for the second time in four days as a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao sent the LaLiga leaders seven points clear.

Zinedine Zidane's men have been flawless since the season's restart to claim control of the title rice, but they were given a stern test by Getafe on Thursday and again had their work cut out for a time on Sunday.

Yet as against Getafe, Ramos stepped up to net a second-half penalty and secure all three points in Bilbao, with his latest decisive goal coming after Dani Garcia tripped Marcelo in the area to prompt a VAR review.

A seventh straight victory ensured Madrid made the most of playing before rivals Barcelona, who will kick-off at Villarreal later in the day knowing they have an even more significant gap to make up.

Madrid recalled Marco Asensio for his first start of the season in a move which almost brought immediate reward.

The fit-again forward drew a low save from a fourth-minute free-kick, with Karim Benzema then unable to direct his header goalwards when Dani Carvajal squared the rebound.

That was about the extent of Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon's involvement before half-time, while Thibaut Courtois repelled Raul Garcia's powerful header at the other end.

Simon might have had a far greater role to play, though, as both Rodrygo and Benzema squandered huge headed opportunities from searching Asensio centres, each missing the target completely.

The second period appeared set to play out in similarly frustrating fashion for Madrid until Marcelo went down in the area and a penalty was eventually awarded, with Ramos coolly tucking his finish inside the left-hand post in the 73rd minute.

Simon saved smartly with his legs from Benzema in the closing stages, but the one Ramos goal proved enough for Madrid again.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane wants Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi to remain in LaLiga amid speculation of a possible departure.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until 2021 but a report emerged on Thursday, claiming the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is considering an exit.

According to Cadena SER, Messi has halted contract negotiations due to his frustrations with Barca – who are on track to be dethroned by bitter rivals Madrid this season.

Zidane was asked about the rumours regarding Messi after Madrid moved four points clear of two-time defending champions Barca thanks to Thursday's 1-0 win over Getafe.

"I don't know what will happen but we hope not because he is in this league and we want the best in this league," Zidane said post-match.

Sergio Ramos was the hero for Madrid against Getafe, scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in the 79th minute at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.

The victory was Madrid's sixth in a row as Los Blancos extended their advantage over stuttering Barca with five matches remaining in LaLiga.

Zidane hailed captain Ramos, who took his LaLiga tally to nine goals in 2019-20 following his 450th league appearance for Madrid.

"Our captain is our leader on the field, but also outside," Zidane said of the Spain skipper, who took his career total to 100 goals.

"He is an unrepeatable player. He is unique and we know what he transmits to everyone else. I'm happy for him for his goal because when it comes to shooting a penalty, he has a lot of confidence. 

"It's almost in the 80th minute and Dani Carvajal's effort in goal is from the whole team. We know that with patience and tranquillity we can score goals. This is what happened.

"The last 20 minutes with freshness we claimed a very important result. We have to congratulate all the players because what we are doing is not easy."

Zidane also provided an update on star centre-back Raphael Varane, who took a blow to the head and had to be replaced in the first half.

"Right now he's not right because it's a blow to the neck," Zidane added. "He has gone home and the doctor is going to see him and we will see from tomorrow [Friday]. 

"We are not going to risk anything. It was a strong blow and tomorrow we will see exactly what he has."

Zinedine Zidane has cast a little uncertainty over his long-term future at Real Madrid, as he suggested the demands of management will lead to an early retirement.

Zidane has had a significant impact on Los Blancos, first during a five-year stint as a player and now as coach, with the Frenchman in his second spell at the helm.

During his first he led the club to an historic three successive Champions League successes, and although he left soon after the third, he returned last year following the ill-fated tenures of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

He has Los Blancos back on track this term as they sit top of LaLiga, ahead of Barcelona by virtue of a better head-to-head record with seven matches to go.

But rarely has the possibility of a long coaching career been associated with Zidane, who, even when unemployed between his two Madrid spells was only ever closely linked with the France job.

And ahead of facing rock-bottom Espanyol, who sacked their coach Abelardo earlier in the day, Zidane brought up the subject of his future when asked about Sergio Ramos.

When asked if he thought Ramos would become a club icon when he played alongside the centre-back, Zidane said: "It was clear that he could achieve what he is achieving, because he already had quality and above all personality.

"He always wanted to win and make history in this club. I am not surprised by what Sergio is doing. We are lucky to have him in Madrid and I hope that continues until the end of his career. I am not going to coach another 20 years, I am going to retire sooner. Anything can happen."

He added: "I was a better footballer than a coach, but there were better footballers than me as well, although I'm happy with what I've done.

"I'm not going to coach for 20 years, I don't know how many. I don't plan anything, what encourages me is the day-to-day. Then I will do other things.

"In my head I have always been a footballer, I had 18 or 19 years as a player and when I was asked if I was going to coach, I would say no. In the end I was, but it's demanding – I don't think I'll be here for another 20 years."

But he was eager to assure fans that he is in no rush to leave, adamant he is still happy.

"No one should interpret what I say," he continued. "The reality is I'm managing the best club in the world and I'm happy, regardless of what happens here.

"But I know that when we lose the press will be out, the knives will be out, that won't change. We are winning now, but like I said, today we've yet to win the title. We must continue working, training hard.

"Everyone is going in same direction. We cannot control external matters, only what we can control. We shouldn't worry about what goes on outside Real Madrid and I think my future is the least of concerns at the moment."

Zinedine Zidane believes Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos should retire at the Santiago Bernabeu amid question marks over his future.

Ramos' contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season, by which time he will be 35, and it remains to be seen whether the star defender will remain in the Spanish capital.

The Spain skipper showed he is far from finished with another inspiring performance in Madrid's 2-0 LaLiga victory over Real Mallorca on Wednesday.

Ramos – who took his season tally to nine goals, becoming the first defender to score eight or more goals in a single LaLiga campaign since Ezequiel Garay in 2006-07 – scored a stunning 56th-minute free-kick to ensure Madrid returned to the top of the table midweek.

"Sergio belongs here as a player," Madrid head coach Zidane told reporters afterwards.

"He's been here for years and he should retire here. It's what I think and I'll stand by it."

Vinicius Junior broke the deadlock for Madrid in the 19th minute at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, where Ramos curled a set-piece past Manolo Reina 11 minutes into the second half.

A fourth consecutive victory since the coronavirus-enforced break saw Madrid move back to the summit due to their superior head-to-head record against bitter rivals Barcelona.

"We need to have the ball," Zidane said. "The setup isn't the most important thing for me, it's more about what we do on the pitch with the ball. We can do better, but I'm satisfied with what I saw and what these players are doing is not at all easy. 

"That's four wins in a row, but the standout feature for us today was our defensive solidity all round. We can get better going forward and that's what we'll try to do.

"We were a bit tired by the end today but that's not just Real Madrid, the same goes for all the teams. It's a strange situation, we're back training after 60 days and with the heat and everything. But we have to keep going and all we can do is be more alert with the players, we want to keep moving forward strong."

"We're all more or less in the same boat. The important thing is that it's four wins for us, but that's a credit to the players. We're training well and we always want more," added Zidane.

"The players' attitude has been phenomenal, so too has that of the players who are not playing as much, and this is what makes the difference in the dressing room. We have seven finals left, the players have to recover well and continue with what we are doing, we haven't won anything."

Out-of-favour star Gareth Bale, meanwhile, made his first start for Madrid since February.

Bale, despite working hard, largely failed to impress against relegation-threatened Mallorca.

Zidane said: "We're happy with what we're doing and Gareth is an important player, he's always shown that. The important thing is to play like we're playing. The players change, but the important thing is that the dynamic doesn't change.

"As always, there are players who are going to have more minutes, but that has been the case all along and it's not going to change."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said Sergio Ramos always leads by example following his spectacular free-kick against Real Mallorca.

Ramos curled a stunning set-piece past Manolo Reina as Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Mallorca on Wednesday.

After Vinicius Junior's 19th-minute opener, Madrid captain Ramos showcased his set-piece ability 11 minutes into the second half at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium.

Ramos took his season tally to nine goals, becoming the first defender to score eight or more goals in a single LaLiga campaign since Ezequiel Garay in 2006-07 and Zidane hailed the Spain skipper.

"He's been looking for a free-kick goal," Zidane said after the match in the Spanish capital. "He's worked on it a lot in training.

"He's our leader, our captain and he always leads the way."

Ramos appeared to respond to comments made by Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique following Madrid's victory midweek.

Madrid reclaimed top spot after LaLiga's return this month due to Barca's 0-0 draw with Sevilla last Friday, after which Pique suggested it would be hard to stop Los Blancos winning the title because VAR and referee decisions too often go their way.

Ramos said people "shouldn't be imagining things" after Madrid moved back to the summit due to their superior head-to-head record.

Zidane, however, was reluctant to add to the controversy following Madrid's fourth consecutive win since the coronavirus-enforced postponement.

"I'm not going to get involved in these things," Zidane said. "Ramos has already spoken.

"I have my own views. We have to rest and think about the next game."

Madrid will travel to Espanyol on Sunday in round 32 of the competition and Zidane added: "I'm sure it's going to be difficult until the last game."

Sergio Ramos says people "shouldn't be imagining things" when it comes to Real Madrid benefitting from decisions in an apparent riposte towards Gerard Pique and Barcelona.

Zinedine Zidane's side moved back to the top of LaLiga by virtue of their superior head-to-head record on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Real Mallorca, thanks to goals from Ramos and Vinicius Junior.

Madrid reclaimed top spot after LaLiga's return this month due to Barcelona's 0-0 draw with Sevilla last Friday, after which Pique suggested it would be hard to stop Los Blancos winning the title because VAR and referee decisions too often go their way.

Ramos, though, thinks such arguments are only being made now that Madrid have the edge in the title race.

"There's a lot of noise in the media because we're leaders again," he told Movistar. "They didn't talk so much before. They talk about VAR, but I don't think anyone has an advantage over the season.

"We don't pay attention to this noise. I don't think they [the referees] take any predetermined decisions. It seems like we should be thanking the refs for being leaders! People shouldn't be imagining things.

"We've been working hard and since the lockdown, we've been united, and we deserve to be where we are."

Ramos became the top-scoring defender in LaLiga history against Real Sociedad last week and his goal on Wednesday, his 69th in the top flight, made him the first defender to reach eight in a single season since Ezequiel Garay 13 years ago.

However, the Madrid captain remains far more concerned with team performances and admitted they felt tired as the Mallorca match went on.

"I've always said this is a team game at the end of the day," he said. "The personal side makes you feel proud and motivates you but it's secondary. The most important thing is the consistency of the team. It's a job well done and three more points.

"The team was tired, we felt that. Obviously, we don't have long to recover between games, and we have to continue improving. We all know what our objective is but there are plenty of things we can improve.

"Our play stagnated a little at times, but I think we can generally improve in all aspects. We could have put the game to bed earlier and taken more chances, played with the ball in their half. That's what we want to do: we want to dominate more."

Real Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga thanks to a 2-0 defeat of Real Mallorca at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium on Wednesday.

Barca's 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao 24 hours earlier had put the pressure back on Zinedine Zidane's men, but Vinicius' goal after 19 minutes steadied any nerves within the home side.

Mallorca, who sit third from bottom of the table, gave a spirited account of themselves but rarely looked likely to claim a share of the spoils despite Madrid having made four changes from the 2-1 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Zidane elected to start Vinicius, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale in support of Karim Benzema but it was captain Sergio Ramos who made the win safe with an exceptional free-kick early in the second half.

Vinicius might have been a surprise starter but he justified Zidane's call 19 minutes in, steering a finish high past Manolo Reina after a clever reverse pass from Luka Modric.

The Brazilian hit the bar with a lob from a Karim Benzema throughball four minutes later, but it was Mallorca who threatened more as the half went on, even though Thibaut Courtois' goal was largely well protected.

Madrid took control with a second goal 10 minutes into the second half, Ramos curling a fine free-kick into the top-left corner from just outside the penalty area.

Mallorca did not lose heart at least and threatened through Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo, who saw a shot hit the side-netting after one impressive run through the box.

The visitors remain three points from safety and at serious risk of relegation, but they did at least make a moment of LaLiga history when Luka Romero came off the bench to become the youngest player ever to play in the competition at the age of 15 years and 219 days.

 

What does it mean? Zidane's side taking shape for double charge

Madrid are back on top of the table above Barcelona on their head-to-head record and appear to be in good shape after the lockdown.

Zidane changed the system and personnel but was still rewarded with a strong performance. That sort of adaptability bodes well for their title challenge, and the return of the Champions League in August.

Vinicius on a mission

Having gone through a difficult spell this season, Vinicius looks determined to become a mainstay in Zidane's plans.

He scored one good goal, almost got a second and pressed across the front in the second half to keep the Mallorca defence worried.

No lucky break for Bale

Bale got out of Vincius' way to let his team-mate open the scoring and it was his most useful contribution of the game.

It was more a disinterested performance than a poor one, but certainly was not one to make his coach think he merits a regular place in the first XI.

What's next?

Madrid head to Espanyol on Sunday, with Mallorca facing Athletic Bilbao at San Mames a day earlier.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos became the highest scoring defender in LaLiga history on Sunday.

Ramos took his career tally in Spain's top flight to 68 goals after converting a penalty as Madrid moved top of LaLiga with a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad.

Madrid broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half courtesy of Ramos, who sent Alex Remiro the wrong way from the penalty spot following a foul on Vinicius Junior.

Ramos equalled his best-ever LaLiga goals haul of seven, while surpassing former Barcelona defender Ronald Koeman on the all-time list.

The 34-year-old Ramos then hobbled off on the hour-mark after taking a knock to his knee, before Karim Benzema doubled Madrid's lead 10 minutes later.

Mikel Merino's thunderous strike gave Sociedad hope with seven minutes remaining, but Madrid held on to replace Barca atop the table through 30 rounds.

Ramos, who emerged from boyhood club Sevilla's youth system in 2004, joined Madrid in 2005.

Since moving to the Santiago Bernabeu, the Spain skipper has won 21 major honours – including four LaLiga titles and as many Champions League crowns.

Ramos is also a two-time European Championship winner and World Cup champion.

Real Madrid climbed above Barcelona at the top of LaLiga as second-half goals from Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema clinched a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. 

Barca's goalless draw with Sevilla on Friday handed Zinedine Zidane's men the chance to leapfrog their rivals at the summit - and they duly seized the opportunity with a hard-fought triumph on the road. 

Ramos put Madrid in front from the penalty spot five minutes into the second half, while Benzema added a second less than two minutes after Adnan Januzaj had a goal controversially ruled out for Sociedad. 

The visitors lost Ramos to injury and were given a scare when Mikel Merino pulled one back seven minutes from time, but they held on to make it three wins from three since the restart and overtake Barcelona by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.  

Madrid took nearly an hour to get going in their 3-0 win against Valencia last time out and it was a similar story here against top-four hopefuls Sociedad. 

Vinicius Junior fired over from a good position inside 110 seconds and was then denied by Alex Remiro late in the first half, either side of Benzema's low effort being kept out. 

But Madrid did not have to wait too long into the second half to find a breakthrough, Vinicius tripped by Diego Llorente as he was about to shoot after gliding past two players. 

Ramos made no mistake from the spot, the skipper equalling his best-ever LaLiga goals haul of seven by sending Remiro the wrong way. 

Madrid lost their captain to an apparent knee injury 10 minutes later and nearly suffered a bigger blow when substitute Januzaj picked out the corner with a low drive, only for Merino - deemed to be in Thibaut Courtois' line of sight - to be adjudged offside. 

Sociedad's pain was doubled when Benzema brought down Federico Valverde's cross and fired home, the goal allowed to stand despite a VAR check for a possible handball by the Frenchman. 

And despite an unmarked Merino thumping home at the back post, Madrid saw things through to keep their momentum going.  

 

What does it mean? Advantage Madrid in tight title tussle 

Barcelona looked well below par in their stalemate with Sevilla two days ago and Madrid made them pay with this well-earned victory.  

Zidane's side are level on 65 points with their bitter rivals but edge in front after taking four points from the two Clasico encounters earlier in the campaign. 

Vinicius steps up for Madrid 

Brought into the side for the rested Eden Hazard on the left of Madrid's front three, Vinicius was the visitors' liveliest player in the first half and won the penalty for the key breakthrough soon after the restart. 

James unable to take his chance 

It is no secret that James is not fancied by Zidane, this the Colombia international's first league start since October. He offered little during his 78 minutes on the field and may well have to wait a little while for his next opportunity to impress. 

What's next? 

The games keep coming thick and fast for both sides, with Madrid hosting Real Mallorca on Wednesday and Sociedad at home to Celta Vigo the same day. 

Sergio Ramos sent a warning to Barcelona after Real Madrid made a winning return to LaLiga action on Sunday.

The club captain was among the goalscorers as Madrid beat Eibar 3-1 at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium to move back to within two points of league leaders Barca, who won 4-0 at Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Toni Kroos and Marcelo scored either side of Ramos in a strong first-half display from the home side, but they were less convincing after the break and conceded when Pedro Bigas deflected a Pablo De Blasis shot past Thibaut Courtois.

Ramos went off after 61 minutes with what he described as "a little knock", which did not help Madrid's cause, but the centre-back was still pleased with the way they returned to action three months after the coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be suspended.

"I'm happy with the three points and to start playing again," he said to LaLiga. "We've got 10 more finals and we'll give it everything we've got.

"It was a bit strange for everybody after a tough time for everyone, I want to send, as captain, high spirits to everyone. It has been a strange situation, not being able to go out of the house, but we always have to bring positive things out of bad things.

"To get football back is happiness for the whole country. Everything is returning to its natural place, it's important for everybody – us as well – to get back out on the pitch.

"I think we did well, we worked hard over the last few weeks to come back and to keep the form that maybe we've lost over the last couple of months. We are back and playing in the best possible way, there are a lot of things we can improve but physically we were good.

"The first 45 minutes, we showed good intensity and got the goals to go ahead. A bit less intense in the second half, but that will be something for us to learn from and improve. In general, we were good, we've got things to improve and are happy to get the three points. We will now prepare for the next game in the best way."

Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid are yet to discuss a new contract for Los Blancos' captain, but his agent insists there is no reason for anyone to panic.

Ramos joined Madrid in 2005 from Sevilla and has gone on to become a club icon, amassing almost 650 appearances and winning a host of titles.

Now 34, the Spain international is approaching the twilight of his career, but having played 25 of Madrid's 27 LaLiga games prior to the coronavirus hiatus, he is still seen as a key player for Zinedine Zidane.

Ramos' deal expires in just over a year, suggesting his long-term future could potentially lie elsewhere if Madrid opt not to extend their association.

But Ramos' agent – his brother Rene – is convinced both parties want the centre-back to retire at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Football goes around a lot but there are very good intentions on both sides," the agent told Radio Marca.

"Hopefully he will retire at Real Madrid, it is his ream and I understand that it will be the desire of the club too.

"As of today, we have not spoken about anything but there is no need to be alarmed. The moment the club considers it, we will begin to speak."

Rene was recently quoted as saying his brother would stretch out his career as long as he could in order to play in Madrid's redeveloped Santiago Bernabeu.

But he feels some did not grasp the meaning of his comments.

"My words were misinterpreted," he added. "What I wanted to say is that he will play until he and the club consider that he is fit to play for Real Madrid."

Ramos and Madrid will resume their 2019-20 LaLiga season on Sunday away to Eibar.

Manchester City and Bayern Munich are seemingly a long way apart when it comes to Leroy Sane.

Sane has been heavily linked with a move to the Bundesliga giants, although it seems City's valuation of the attacker is proving problematic for Bayern.

And, they are reportedly not getting much closer to a deal for the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY, BAYERN STILL FAR APART OVER SANE

Manchester City are remaining tough with Bayern Munich over the transfer fee for Sane, according to Sky Sport.

Reports says City are hoping for €70million (£62.4m) for Sane, but Bayern are offering just €40m (£35.6m).

Sane, 24, left Schalke for City in 2016 and has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two EFL Cups with the club.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United may be considering their options. Tuttosport reports the Premier League giants are ready to make an offer for Juventus midfielder Federico Bernardeschi if they do not land Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

- Out of contract next year, Georginio Wijnaldum's Liverpool future has been questioned. However, The Guardian reports the Premier League leaders held positive talks with the midfielder and hope to extend the Netherlands international's deal for at least three years.

- Sergio Ramos is set to stay at Real Madrid. AS reports the club captain has agreed a one-year extension, taking his deal through until 2022.

- With his deal expiring at season's end, Thiago Silva looks likely to leave Paris Saint-Germain. ESPN reports the defender wants to stay in Europe and play for another top club for at least two more seasons.

- Jose Callejon appears happy at Napoli. CalcioMercato reports the attacker, out of contract at the end of the campaign, would like to stay at the Serie A club for at least another year.

- Valencia attacker Ferran Torres has drawn plenty of interest. According to Radio Valencia, Napoli have spoken to the LaLiga club about the 20-year-old, who has also been linked to Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.

Playing at the redeveloped Santiago Bernabeu would be the "perfect retirement" for Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, according to his agent and brother Rene.

Ramos' current contract expires in 2021 and the 34-year-old defender's future with Madrid is far from certain.

The Madrid star and Spain skipper has won four LaLiga titles and as many Champions League crowns among other honours since joining from Sevilla in 2005.

As Madrid's iconic Bernabeu stadium undergoes renovation work, Rene Ramos addressed the centre-back's future in the Spanish capital.

"The chewing gum will be stretched as long as we can," Rene told Onda Cero.

"Playing at the New Bernabeu would be the perfect retirement for him.

"Physically, he's fine and he's climbing the walls [ahead of LaLiga Santander returning]."

Ramos had made 25 LaLiga appearances and scored five goals this season, while he played 34 matches across all competitions.

The 2019-20 LaLiga season is set to resume on June 11 after the campaign was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Madrid were two points behind bitter rivals and defending champions Barcelona with 11 matches remaining at the time of postponement.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid are set to host Eibar on June 14.

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

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

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

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PUSH AHEAD IN LAUTARO PURSUIT

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

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

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

ROUND-UP

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said Spain needs football to boost the economy and to distract fans as LaLiga eyes a June return following the coronavirus outbreak.

LaLiga has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally – killing more than 283,500 people and bringing sport to a standstill.

A mid-June resumption has been touted for the 2019-20 campaign in Spain, where Barca topped the table ahead of Madrid through 27 matches.

Ramos is raring to go, telling Movistar: "Getting going needs time, the country needs football as an economic support and the people need it as a distraction.

"I'm dying to compete again, for LaLiga Santander to be normal again, we have to be disciplined so that we can eliminate this virus.

"I want to send a message of support to everyone who has lost a loved one, we'll get through this and we have to come together."

Germany's Bundesliga will restart on May 16 and as LaLiga teams return via individual training sessions while adhering social-distancing measures, Ramos added: "We have to go to Valdebebas in divided zones and following the rules, it's a bit abnormal and complicated but the situation requires it.

"It will be LaLiga who take decisions, Germany has set the example we have to follow.

"We like being with our families but we have to be flexible too."

Madrid were two points behind defending champions Barca with 11 matches remaining when the season was suspended due to coronavirus.

"I know the schedule of both teams perfectly," Ramos said when asked about Madrid trying to overhaul Barca.

"Without fans, making a prediction is a bit brave. Our objective is to be champions."

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