Barcelona and Chelsea are reportedly moving Borussia Dortmund teenager Youssoufa Moukoko to the top of their priorities as he approaches the end of his contract.

Moukoko, who turned 18 in November, has been with Dortmund since he was 12 years old, making his first-team debut in the Champions League as a 16-year-old, breaking the record as the youngest player in the history of the competition.

He is also the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Bundesliga, and after being used primarily off the bench up to this point in his career, he started seven consecutive league fixtures leading into the World Cup break.

With six goals and three assists in his 14 Bundesliga appearances this season, he has emerged as one of the top prospects in world football, but his time in Dortmund could be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY - MOUKOKO SET TO DECIDE BETWEEN EUROPE'S ELITE CLUBS

Moukoko's contract expires at the end of this season, and if he does not sign an extension to remain with Dortmund, he will be able to leave as a free agent.

According to Sport, Barcelona believe Moukoko's history as a childhood Lionel Messi and Barca supporter puts them in the prime position at the front of the line to secure his services. The report claims the Spanish giants view themselves as the only landing spot if Moukoko decides against remaining at Dortmund.

Meanwhile, the Express states Chelsea feel more confident about their chances with Moukoko than they ever did about Palmeiras prospect Endrick, a player who journalist Fabrizio Romano is reporting has chosen Real Madrid.

Chelsea's willingness to propose a five-year deal with the option of a sixth year is said to be a key selling point, per the Secret Scout on Twitter, while Sport also added Chelsea "would be willing to pay a fortune".

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Revelo, Real Madrid are interested in 18-year-old Manchester United talent Alejandro Garnacho.

– ESPN is reporting United are working on a deal to sign 33-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Milan should give 23-year-old winger Rafael Leao an ultimatum in January that he must agree to a new contract or be sold, per Calciomercato.

– Fichajes is reporting Milan are interested in bringing in Barcelona's Ferran Torres but prefer Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli if he becomes available.

– According to Sky Sport Italia, Inter and Juventus could both attempt to sign Roma centre-back Chris Smalling when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Jack Grealish's future at Manchester City has been the subject of speculation lately despite being only 18 months into a six-year contract.

The 27-year-old England attacking midfielder has not quite met expectations since his big-money switch from Aston Villa.

Grealish has scored one goal in 16 appearances this season, after netting five times in 33 games in his maiden season at City.

 

TOP STORY - MILAN PLOT SHOCK MOVE FOR GREALISH

Serie A champions Milan are set to launch a shock transfer bid for Grealish, according to Calciomercato.

City are open to selling the playmaker, who they signed from Villa last year for £100 million, the most expensive transfer of an English player.

The Premier League champions are willing to let Grealish go to fund their bid for Borussia Dortmund's England international Jude Bellingham. Milan would likely make a move for Grealish at the end of the season.

ROUND-UP

Bellingham's management have informed Real Madrid that Liverpool are ahead in the race for the Dortmund midfielder's signature, according to Bild.

Liverpool have joined the pursuit of Valencia's United States international Yunus Musah, competing with Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, reports Calciomercato.

– 90min claims both Tottenham and Liverpool are considering a move for Fiorentina's Morocco international midfielder Sofyan Amrabat in January.

Milan may be interested in Barcelona target Gabriel Martinelli, should the Italian giants sell Rafael Leao in January, claims Calciomercato. Martinelli is contracted with Arsenal until 2024.

Marseille are interested in a move for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha when his contract is up at the end of the season, reports 90min.

– Bild reports that Bayern Munich are close to agreeing a new deal for 19-year-old whizzkid Jamal Musiala.

The race to sign Palmeiras teenager Endrick is on.

Endrick turns 18 in July 2024, and he cannot officially join a European club until then, but teams are jostling for position in the meantime.

The 16-year-old has scored three goals in seven appearances for Palmeiras in the 2022 Serie A season.

 

TOP STORY - LOS BLANCOS HOME IN ON BRAZILIAN TEENAGER ENDRICK

Real Madrid are closing in on a deal worth €70million for Palmeiras teenager Endrick with personal terms agreed, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Madrid are in the final stages with the talented left-footed Brazilian striker with contracts discussed and they hope to complete the deal this month.

Romano claims that Paris Saint-Germain have withdrawn from the race despite a €58m offer a few days ago. Chelsea were previously interested too. 

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Paris Saint-Germain were tracking Portugal's last-16 hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos in the off-season, claims Fabrizio Romano. The 21-year-old forward is contracted with Benfica until 2025, with his price likely to surge after his latest World Cup display.

Manchester United have pulled out of the race to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, claims Sky Sports Germany. Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid all remain interested but the England international may cost around £130m (€150m).

– Bild claims Manchester United have commenced talks with Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who is out of contract at the end of this season, but Fichajes reports they have identified Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak as their main target.

Tottenham are looming as a possible option for Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie with Barcelona eager to sell him, according to Sport. Kessie joined the Blaugrana in July but has only made five starts this season.

– Nicolo Schira reports that Hansi Flick's future as Germany's head coach is in doubt following their World Cup group-stage exit. The German Football Association could move in a different direction amid links with ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

Frenkie de Jong says he has no inside track on how to stop his former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi, as the Netherlands and Argentina prepare to meet in the World Cup.

The two sides will square off in the quarter-finals at Qatar 2022, with Louis van Gaal's Oranje having beaten the United States and Lionel Scaloni's Albiceleste having felled Australia.

With three goals so far this tournament - and in likely his last visit to the World Cup - Messi has netted three goals and ignited an otherwise hit-and-miss Argentina side.

As the forward pursues the biggest honour to elude him across his trophy-laden career, Netherlands fans might have hoped De Jong would know how to stop his ex-colleague, but the Dutchman says that is not the case.

"No," he told ESPN. "I know him, but I don't know how to stop him. He's been making the difference for 15 years and there is not one way to stop him.

"Usually he would still make the difference during training too. We just have to stop him as a team.

Asked if he had spoken to Messi since their clash was confirmed, De Jong added: "We haven't texted each other. I am not planning to. We will see each other on Friday."

Having joined Barcelona in 2019, De Jong was a member of the Barca team that claimed the 2020-21 Copa del Rey alongside Messi, with both scoring in the final.

The latter was on hand when Argentina beat the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals, before they were downed by Germany in the final, and De Jong is determined to ensure there is no repeat.

"Argentina is of course a top team," he added. "But so are we. It will be a very good match, but I am confident. I think they look at us the same way. It's a 50-50 encounter."

Inter and Netherlands defender Denzel Dumfries will reportedly be available in the January transfer window for €50million, with Chelsea and Manchester United named as interested parties.

Dumfries, 26, enjoyed a breakout performance in the Netherlands' first knockout game in Qatar, contributing a goal and two assists in the 3-1 win against the United States.

It continues his strong form for his country, also boasting two goals and an assist in five UEFA Nations League fixtures this calendar year, while adding three assists from his 15 Serie A clashes this campaign.

Inter sit fifth in Serie A and the club would like to retain the services of a regular starter in his prime, but a report from Calciomercato claims any bid exceeding €50m would be an offer they cannot refuse.

 

TOP STORY - PREMIER LEAGUE TARGET DUMFRIES AVAILABLE IN JANUARY

According to Calciomercato's report, Simone Inzaghi views Dumfries as invaluable to his plans this season, but the financial aspect of a potential €50m deal would take the decision out of his hands.

Dumfries even addressed the rumours of Chelsea's interest after his man of the match performance against the Americans, saying "of course it’s a big compliment to be linked with Chelsea".

United are the other club mentioned in the report, with Erik ten Hag's search for a new right-back being well-documented since his arrival, including Dumfries' Dutch team-mate Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham's interest in 22-year-old out-of-favour Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie has been reignited after starting all four of the United States' World Cup outings, per Calciomercato.

– Fichajes is reporting United's top target at goalkeeper is 29-year-old Atletico Madrid standout Jan Oblak.

– Fichajes also believes Real Madrid could make a move for 33-year-old Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta in January.

– Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg is reporting Chelsea, United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the sides interested in 20-year-old RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who has been impressive for Croatia at the World Cup.

– Marca is reporting Barcelona believe 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans has already made a commitment to another club, as he is unwilling to hold any discussions about Barcelona's interest.

A fully fit Sergi Roberto was among a small group of Barcelona players who returned to training on Monday.

The versatile 30-year-old has not played since dislocating his left shoulder after scoring in Barca's 4-0 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao in October.

Sergio Roberto was cleared to train at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper over three weeks before the Blaugrana are back in action against Espanyol on December 31.

Defender Ronald Araujo also reported for training to continue his recovery from a groin injury that prevented him from playing for Uruguay in the World Cup.

Franck Kessie was also out on the pitch as he works his way back a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Kessie has been linked with Inter, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Fulham just five months after joining the Catalan giants from Milan on a free transfer.

Hector Bellerin, Marcos Alonso and Inaki Pena trained following a fortnight off while many of their team-mates were at the World Cup.

Head coach Xavi will welcome back more players who are no longer playing in the tournament in Qatar later this week.

Robert Lewandowski is "not scared" of playing at another World Cup, but the Poland captain acknowledged his side would need a change in tactics.

The forward saw his side beaten 3-1 by France in their last-16 tie, bowing out of Qatar 2022 after a frustrating campaign that saw them struggle in the group stages too.

Having come to this tournament without a World Cup goal in his career, Lewandowski added his second goal of the tournament from the penalty spot late on against Les Bleus.

But when asked if he would still be in the frame to feature at the 2026 edition in just under four years – by which time he will be 37 years old – the veteran Barcelona frontman would not commit.

"Physically, I'm not scared of it," he said. "But there are so many things to manage first. It's hard to say now. Athletically, it doesn't scare me, but there are still a lot of uncertainties."

Lewandowski hinted a shift away from the defence-orientated performances Poland displayed in Qatar may be needed.

"It's still a long way to go and, obviously, you need to enjoy the game," he said. "If we attack, try to attack, it's a bit different. But if we play defensively, there's no joy."

Poland were always the underdogs against a France team who, even with several key stars missing through injury, have emerged among the favourites to land the title they won four years ago.

Lewandowski concedes his side were always going to have a struggle on their hands, adding: "It is a difficult match, to play against France.

"We fought and we tried to do our best. We played very, very well in the first half, with a few chances. Maybe if we scored the first goal, it would have been a different game.

"Unfortunately, we conceded a goal in the last minute of the first half. It's always difficult to come back from that. We reacted well, we pushed to come back. We can be proud because we tried everything."

Jude Bellingham is expected to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of this season, with numerous clubs lining up to sign him.

The England international, who has impressed during the World Cup, is contracted with Dortmund until 2025.

It has been speculated that Bellingham will cost English clubs more than £100million to fund the deal.

TOP STORY – CITY TO USE GREALISH IN DEAL FOR BELLINGHAM

Manchester City will dangle Jack Grealish to Borussia Dortmund as part of a deal to land Bellingham, claims Football Insider.

Grealish, who City signed for £100m from Aston Villa 18 months ago, has not fully convinced since his switch to the English champions.

According to the report, City are intensifying their interest in Bellingham and are willing to use Grealish.

Le10Sport have also reported French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in 19-year-old Bellingham.

 

ROUND-UP

Liverpool are plotting a surprise move for Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic, reports Calciomercato. The Serbian striker has scored six Serie A goals this term.

– Mundo Deportivo reports Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Meunier is willing to listen to offers from Milan, Juventus, Manchester United and two other Premier League clubs if Barcelona do not bid for him.

– Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix is open to a Premier League switch amid interest from Chelsea, claims GiveMeSport transfer expert Dean Jones.

– Calciomercato reports that Arsenal are interested in a January move for Real Madrid's Marco Asensio.

Leeds United are interested in a January move for Newcastle forward Chris Wood, claims Football Insider. Wood left Leeds for Burnley in 2017.

Sofyan Amrabat has been at the centre of Morocco's surprise success at the World Cup, and his performances have put the Fiorentina midfielder on the radar of several Premier League clubs.

Amrabat, 26, had his first taste of Serie A football when he was loaned from Club Brugge to Hellas Verona for the 2019-20 season, catching the eye of Fiorentina, who scooped him up the following year.

The defensive midfielder has steadily increased his role at Fiorentina, making 10 starts and three substitute appearances in the league this season.

He played every minute of Morocco's three group games, guiding his side to an undefeated record (W2 D1) with clean sheets against both Belgium and Croatia, and now he is reportedly wanted by the English elite.

 

TOP STORY – AMRABAT EMERGES AS LIVERPOOL AND TOTTENHAM TARGET

According to Sky Sports Germany, Liverpool believe Amrabat can address their midfield depth issues, and could be available for €30million in January.

An earlier report from La Repubblica claimed Tottenham had enquired about a potential deal last January, and his terrific tournament has only strengthened their interest. 

With a blockbuster last-16 clash booked against Spain on Tuesday, another standout performance could have Amrabat packing his bags for an impending move to England.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting 23-year-old Barcelona target Martin Zubimendi is also on Manchester United's radar, although the Spaniard's contract ties him to Real Sociedad until 2027.

– Calciomercato is also reporting Cristiano Ronaldo is "very interested" in joining Chelsea if the Stamford Bridge side will have him.

– According to Fichajes, Inter would like to bring Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie back to Serie A, but cannot afford to purchase him outright in January, while the Spanish side are not willing to let him leave on a loan deal.

– 90min is reporting Real Madrid would need Kylian Mbappe to agree to certain conditions – including a pay cut and significantly less behind-the-scenes influence – if he wants to come to the club in the near future.

– Newcastle United are not planning any moves in January, and are open to parting ways with 28-year-old winger Ryan Fraser, according to the Telegraph.

Lionel Messi will walk out the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium tunnel on Saturday with the expectations of millions on his shoulders when Argentina face Australia in the last 16 of Qatar 2022.

That is nothing new, of course, for this will be the 1,000th match of a remarkable career that may yet to have peaked – though that will depend on whether Messi can inspire his country past Australia and all the way to World Cup glory.

Now aged 35, Messi has already accepted this will be his final chance to lift the most famous trophy of them all, a little over a year on from helping La Albiceleste end their 28-year wait for a major title with Copa America success.

Ahead of the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner's milestone match, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind his previous 999 appearances for club and country – and why the next two weeks could yet define his career.

Barca Breakthrough

October 16, 2004. It would not be hyperbolic to suggest this was a day that football as we know it changed, with a 17-year-old Messi replacing Deco from the substitutes' bench in Barcelona's 1-0 win over city rivals Espanyol.

In a sign of the mini maestro's longevity, he has since played alongside two players born after his Barcelona debut – Warren Zaire-Emery and El Chadaille Bitshiabu, born in March 2006 and May 2005 respectively.

Both teenagers are on Paris Saint-Germain's books, where Messi is now plying his trade after ending his two-decade association with Barcelona in emotional circumstances in August 2021.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of Messi's career appearances came during his 17 seasons at Camp Nou. He featured 778 times for Barca, scoring a staggering 672 goals and assisting 265, which amounts to 937 direct-goal involvements.

He made more appearances against Real Madrid than any other opponent, playing 47 times against Barca's fiercest rivals.

 

Good times under Guardiola

Barcelona's inability to offer Messi a new contract due to their dire financial situation allowed PSG to pounce. After an underwhelming first campaign in Paris, the superstar forward has found his form this term.

Messi has featured 53 times for the Parisians to date and has scored (23) and assisted (28) a combined 51 goals – just short of one goal involvement every match on average.

He has already had two different managers at the Parc des Princes, with Christophe Galtier having replaced Mauricio Pochettino in the hot seat. That takes the number of head coaches Messi has worked under to 19.

It was under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, between 2008 and 2012, that Messi played his most games as he featured on 219 occasions under the Catalan and scored 211 times.

Luis Enrique is next on that list (158 games), followed by Ernesto Valverde (124) and Frank Rijkaard (110), the man who gave him his debut against Espanyol.


1,000 not out

Some 18 years and 48 days on from that first appearance comes match number 1,000 for club and country – and what a truly huge occasion it is for Messi and Argentina, who recovered from a slow start in the group phase to advance.

Messi has featured in 22 previous World Cup matches – one more than Diego Maradona as the most ever for an Argentina player – scoring eight times and assisting six more. 

Incredibly for a player of his game-changing quality, Messi has yet to score in the knockout stages of the World Cup – 23 efforts, zero goals. Interestingly, the same is also true of archenemy Cristiano Ronaldo (25 shots without a goal).

 

The aim for Messi will be to put that right against Australia on what will be his 169th senior cap, 17 years on from his senior international bow against Hungary, which came just 10 games into his career for club and country.

And while it will be a special occasion for Messi, the man many consider to be the greatest of all time will hope to make it to 1,003 matches before Argentina's Qatar campaign concludes.

Should that be the case and Argentina go on to lift the World Cup for the first time since 1986, a centre-stage Messi will have the defining moment of a truly special career that still has some way to go yet.

Atletico Madrid are reportedly ready to part ways with their club-record signing, setting a €100million asking price for Portuguese forward Joao Felix.

Felix, 23, was purchased from Benfica back in 2019 for a fee of €126m – shattering their transfer record by more than €50m.

He helped Atletico to a LaLiga title in the 2020-21 season, before being named the club's Player of the Season for the 2021-22 campaign, but he has now fallen out of favour, starting just five of his side's 14 league games.

Felix has been able to put himself in the shop window during his two starts to begin Portugal's World Cup group stage, including a goal against Ghana, and now Champions League contenders are expected to come calling in January.

 

TOP STORY – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN NAMED AS ONE OF THREE SUITORS FOR FELIX

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have been named the main interested parties by Spanish publication AS.

The report states Felix's relationship with head coach Diego Simeone has become too strained to continue persisting, and includes a claim that Atletico rejected a €130m offer from United before the season.

With his contract tying him to the club until 2026, there will be no need to settle for an offer deemed unsatisfactory, but AS believes anything approaching that €100m figure – including bonuses – will be enough to get a deal done.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sport is reporting Barcelona view 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan as a potential replacement for Sergio Busquets when the German international's contract expires after the season.

– According to Express, Saudi Arabian clubs Al Hilal and Al-Nassr are considered the leading candidates to fight it out for ex-United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Paris Saint-Germain will offer Lionel Messi a new contract at the conclusion of the World Cup, according to Goal.

Chelsea and Newcastle United are competing to land 18-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos, per 90min.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Milan would like to bring in Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech on a loan deal with the option to make it permanent, but the Moroccan's contract demands could be too expensive.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have confirmed they will boycott next week's LaLiga summit in Dubai, which Los Blancos have labelled as "illegal".

Spanish top-flight clubs have been asked to attend the meeting on December 7 in which a number of topics regarding the league will be discussed.

However, LaLiga's two biggest clubs – who have been embroiled in a long-running battle with league chief Javier Tebas – will not be present in the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Madrid questioned the location of the event and the timing.

"We believe the meeting is illegal, given that the clubs are being called to attend the meeting more than 5,000 kilometres away from LaLiga's headquarters," the statement read.
 
"It's completely unjustifiable to address in such an improvised and urgent manner, in the absence of the appropriate discussion and careful analysis, relevant modifications to LaLiga's internal regulations.
 
"It's completely inappropriate and deeply incoherent for LaLiga to undertake the economic expense of transporting more than 100 people to hold an event of this nature, at this time of year, in the United Arab Emirates, when the same could be held at LaLiga's headquarters without involving excessive costs. 

"Clubs are going through very difficult times financially, burdened by the drop in income experienced in recent years, making it incomprehensible that excessive and unnecessary expenses should be incurred, in particular in the current economic climate.
 
"Real Madrid will not be sending any representative to Dubai for the reasons stated above and once again laments having to act against the irresponsible actions taken by the president of LaLiga, which are of unjustifiable economic cost and which seriously undermine the image and reputation of Spanish football."

Barcelona's statement, which was released at the same time, read: "Extremely relevant business is on the agenda concerning the modification of LaLiga's regulations that requires prior debate and a more extensive and participatory analysis to come to the best consensus that such a wide-ranging reform deserves.

"Barcelona's position has always been that of reaching consensual agreements after having examined the issue coherently and respecting all positions.

"For that reason, we do not believe it is the right time to travel to Dubai for an event that could take place at LaLiga's headquarters and once again we show our opposition to any form of action that we consider damaging to the rights and interests of the club."

LaLiga issued a response later on Wednesday in which it said the trip could "in no way be classed as illegal", and explained the choice of location was to help clubs grow internationally.

"With stops in Dubai and Doha, it is an opportunity to learn more about the region as well as to attend a World Cup game and an event that takes place in Dubai next week where various people from the footballing world are in attendance," the statement added.

"No club is obliged to travel to Dubai to participate in the assembly, since remote participation systems are in place, and they have been informed as such from the beginning."

Lionel Messi is destined to return to Barcelona one day as the player and club "deserve one last dance together", according to the Catalan giants' sporting director Jordi Cruyff.

Paris Saint-Germain star Messi's 21-year association with Barca came to an end in August 2021 as the club could not afford a new deal under LaLiga's financial fair play rules.

Messi is now into his second season with PSG, but he is out of contract at the end of the campaign and has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner turns 36 next year and Cruyff hopes to see him back at Camp Nou in the future, though accepts that it may not be in a playing capacity.

"It's clear Barcelona and Messi have to be together again one day," Cruyff told RAC1. "It may be after his career, but they deserve a final hug, one last dance together."

Messi scored 672 goals across 778 appearances for Barcelona and provided a further 265 assists, amounting to 937 goal involvements across that trophy-laden spell.

 

He featured more times (219) and scored more goals (211) under Pep Guardiola than any other head coach, with the Catalan winning 14 trophies in four seasons at the helm.

Guardiola has since spent three seasons with Bayern Munich and is into his seventh season with Manchester City, where he remains under contract until July 2025.

Speaking this week, Guardiola said he would return to Barcelona one day if the club needed him, adding that "nothing is comparable" to managing a club so close to your heart.

Asked about the possibility of Guardiola managing the Blaugrana again further down the line, Cruyff said: "He's reached the level of being able to choose his own destiny.

"Not many have reached that point; it's the dream of every professional. Whether he returns or not, I have no idea. I think he's happy at City."

Barcelona will ask Sergio Busquets to provide clarity on his future plans when he returns from the World Cup, Jordi Cruyff has revealed.

Midfield stalwart Busquets is due to reach the end of his Barcelona contract at the end of this season, and he has been linked with a move to Inter Miami.

After 15 seasons at Camp Nou, Busquets could elect to finish his career in Major League Soccer with the team part-owned by David Beckham.

His long-standing team-mate Gerard Pique recently retired in mid-season, surprising Barcelona, and the club want to be sure they are aware of Busquets' next intentions.

Cruyff said in an interview with TV3: "When the World Cup is over, we will talk to him. He's earned every right to decide his future, but the club also needs to plan its squad."

The 34-year-old Busquets remains a key figure for Barcelona and Spain, and for his club, only four team-mates have played more minutes than him so far this season (1,201).

He has played close to 700 first-team games for Barcelona since making his debut in 2008.

Cruyff also spoke about Barcelona's transfer plans for the January window and said it was "clear that there are some positions that we can reinforce."

Spending limits may remain a factor; however, if Barcelona get the go-ahead to make a move, Cruyff said they would not hang about.

"If there is an option to sign, we know what we have to do," he said.

Memphis Depay, who has featured for the Netherlands at the World Cup, has played just 131 minutes for Barcelona this season.

He may be expendable and with his contract due to expire at the season's end, this may be a last chance to receive a transfer fee for the Dutch forward.

Cruyff told the Spanish broadcaster: "We are going to see what happens.

"In the summer, he was able to leave but in the end, his departure could not materialise. With [Robert] Lewandowski being suspended for three games, we will see what happens because if there were any injuries, he could be needed."

Joan Laporta believes Barcelona's strong contingent of players within the Spain squad can help propel the national side to victory at the World Cup.

A 7-0 demolition of Costa Rica was followed by a 1-1 draw with Germany and has put the 2010 champions on the brink of qualifying for the knockout stage.

Young Barca pair Gavi and Pedri have caught the eye in midfield during the opening two fixtures, while Ferran Torres hit a brace against Costa Rica.

Laporta expressed his pride at their performances, with the Barcelona president believing Spain's positive displays are down to head coach Xavi's work at club level.

"I think it's fantastic. It gives pride for Barcelona to see how the national team is playing and how our players are doing," he told AS.

"[Spain head coach] Luis Enrique has been able to take on all the pressure, which is a way to relieve all the pressure on the players.

"He has been very brave betting on very young players who are falling in love with the world and it just so happens that most are from Barca.

"The good role of Luis Enrique's national team is also thanks to the good work that Xavi is doing in Barcelona, where there are the most players.

"For me, Spain, along with Brazil and France, are the big favourites of the tournament."

Spain face Japan in their final group match, where victory would confirm top spot.

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