Arsenal defender William Saliba admits he was "hurt" after not being given first-team opportunities following his move from Saint-Etienne. 

The 19-year-old arrived at the Emirates Stadium in July 2019 for a reported £27million (€29.7m) fee and was loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 campaign.

He returned to the Gunners ahead of this season and was expected to become part of manager Mikel Arteta's plans after a possible second loan back to Saint-Etienne failed to materialise in October.

However, the France youth international did not make a senior appearance for the Premier League club and was loaned to Nice earlier this month.

Saliba made his fifth appearance for the Ligue 1 outfit in Sunday's 1-0 defeat to his former club Saint-Etienne. 

Despite the result he had an impact at the heart of the backline, making more successful passes (58) and clearances (five) than any other Nice player.

He also gained possession seven times, the joint second-highest of any player on the pitch.

Saliba has opened up on his frustration with life at Arsenal and feels strongly he should have been given a chance to impress in the first team.

"I really, really, really didn't think that I would be transferred for almost €30m," he told TF1.

"To think that I would arrive, where people were expecting a lot from me, the fans were excited about me and you find yourself in the reserves, playing zero – nothing in the Europa League or the Premier League.

"I was in the squad once in the EFL Cup. It hurt me, it affected me. I don't think I left too early. When you feel ready you have to go. These things happen. I believe in myself."

While Saliba is enjoying playing first-team football again at Nice, he insists he is not thinking about where he will be next season.

"I have learned now that it is better not to look too far in the future," he added. "I am focused on just these six months to try to give absolutely everything and for the rest we will see.

"For me, the best decision was to join Nice because there is a good project, a good team, a good level of ambition and they like to play in a certain way.

"It feels good to play and to have consistent game time. I am young, I am 19, and it is by playing matches like this that you improve.

"You see what mistakes you make and you correct them for the next match."

Neymar converted a penalty in each half but Paris Saint-Germain collapsed to a sensational 3-2 defeat at relegation-threatened Lorient in Ligue 1

Mauricio Pochettino's first loss as head coach means PSG missed out on the chance to return to the top of Ligue 1 in place of Lyon after sub Terem Moffi broke clear to net a stoppage-time winner.

Lorient were the better team before half-time and led through Laurent Abergel's first goal in almost a year

However, a tale of woe then unfolded for Houboulang Mendes, who conceded 45th and 58th-minute penalties, from which Neymar made no mistake.

Yoane Wissa replaced the embattled right wing-back soon afterwards and levelled with a fine solo effort before fellow sub Moffi snatched glory.

Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is open to joining Paris Saint-Germain in the future after revealing he has previously discussed a move with Kylian Mbappe.

France international Ndombele joined Tottenham from Lyon for a club-record fee reported to be around £63million in July 2019, ending long-running links with a switch to PSG.

He endured a difficult first campaign in north London but performances have improved in 2020-21, the 24-year-old featuring 26 times for Spurs in all competitions.

Ndombele remains under contract with Tottenham until 2025 and, while not actively seeking a transfer, he is not ruling out the prospect of returning to France with PSG, where ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is now in charge.

"I'm a boy from the Paris region. Wearing the Paris jersey one day? Why not. But today I'm at Tottenham, and it's going well," he told Telefoot.

"I spoke with Kylian about possibly coming to PSG - two or three years in a row we discussed it. It didn't happen and today at Tottenham it's going well, but why not in the future?"

Ndombele was left out of Tottenham's squad on occasions last season, but he has been praised by boss Jose Mourinho for working hard off the field to become a regular.

He ranks particularly high for dribbles, completing an average of 3.02 per game in the Premier League this term.

That places the midfielder behind only Christian Pulisic (3.28), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (3.53), Allan Saint-Maximin (4.66) and Adama Traore (5.24) among those to have played at least 10 games.

With his brace against Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup last Monday, Ndombele became the first Spurs player to score at least twice in a match as a substitute since Roman Pavlyuchenko against Birmingham City in May 2011.

Reflecting on a mixed time at Tottenham, Ndombele said: "It was tough. I questioned myself a lot, but now the page is turned.

"It's true that at a certain moment I wanted to leave, I didn't feel in the right place. I told them I wanted out. They didn't want me to go."

Ndombele is hopeful his form could see him earn a first appearance for France since June 2019 with the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament on the horizon.

"Of course I miss the France team," he said. "As a competitor we want to be one of the best.

"The European Championship remains a goal in the back of my mind. If I do well at club level, why not be called up?"

Sami Khedira is in talks with Hertha Berlin over a return to the Bundesliga, the German club's chief executive has confirmed.

Juventus midfielder Khedira is expected to leave the Serie A champions before the transfer window closes on Monday.

The contract extension the World Cup winner signed in 2018 is up at the end of the season, but he is set to depart early having failed to appear in a single matchday squad for Juve this term.

Khedira initially had a big impact after joining the Turin club in 2015, scoring 19 goals in 77 games across three successive title-winning Serie A campaigns.

He has since played just 22 times in the competition, suffering with injuries and falling out of favour entirely under rookie coach Andrea Pirlo.

Khedira spoke of a potential move to the Premier League ahead of January, but Berlin and Hertha – 14th in the Bundesliga – now appears his most likely destination.

Hertha CEO Carsten Schmidt told Sky Sport: "Yes, we are having talks with Sami Khedira. I can confirm that. I also spoke to him on the phone.

"We are dealing with it, but there are still a few things to be clarified, of course. We still have many questions to answer."

But Schmidt would not comment on Hertha's reported interest in Werder Bremen attacker Milot Rashica.

Rashica has been hindered by knee and thigh problems this season, playing just 379 minutes in all competitions and failing to score. He has provided a single assist from five chances created.

Lionel Messi's contract details becoming public knowledge was not the fault of Barcelona, the LaLiga club have claimed.

A report by El Mundo claimed the deal Messi signed at Camp Nou in 2017, which expires at the end of this season, is worth more than €555million over the course of four years.

That would mean the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is in possession of the most lucrative contract in sports history - something that jars against Barcelona's worsening financial plight.

Accounts for the 2019-20 season showed the club's gross debt had reached €820m as the coronavirus pandemic began to take a considerable toll on their finances.

A fractious presidential election is set to conclude in March, with a strained relationship between Messi and the former board, headed by ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu, having played a part in the superstar forward sensationally trying to force a transfer away from Barcelona last August.

In that context, Barca moved quickly on Sunday to offer assurances to their captain and pledged to take legal action against El Mundo.

"In view of the information published today in the newspaper El Mundo, in relation to the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and the player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties," a statement read.

"FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaper El Mundo, for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication.

"FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the entity where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history."

Barcelona return to action on Sunday at home to Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga, where they remain 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid despite a run of four consecutive top-flight wins.

Messi, who was red carded for the first time in his Barca career against Athletic earlier this month, has contributed 15 goals and four assists in all competitions in 2020-21.

Melbourne City missed out on the chance to pull level with the early A-League leaders as they crashed to a 3-1 home defeat against Perth Glory.

Daniel Stynes gave the Glory an early lead courtesy of a deflected effort, although Jamie Maclaren levelled in the 33rd minute when Craig Noone's shot came back off the post.

Dane Ingham headed Perth back in front before the break and another set-piece goal six minutes from time by Nicholas D'Agostino - both of which were assisted by former City midfielder Neil Kilkenny - sealed the points.

Richard Garcia's side are level with Melbourne City on six points after bouncing back from two consecutive defeats.

Wellington Phoenix claimed their first win of the campaign at the fourth attempt thanks to Jaushua Sotirio sealing a late 2-1 triumph at Central Coast Mariners.

Ulises Davila drilled home a crisp left-footed strike after 15 minutes at a soggy Central Coast Stadium, but Alou Kuol nodded in Daniel De Silva's left-wing corner to ensure it was all square at half-time.

The Mariners looked to be on course for the point that would have edged them above Brisbane Roar at the top of the standings, albeit having played a game more.

Sotirio showed he had other ideas when he caught the home defence napping on the end of Alex Rufer's chipped pass and produced a cool finish.

Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract is the biggest in the history of sport, landing the superstar forward more than €555million over four years.

That is the astonishing claim made by El Mundo, with the Spanish newspaper reporting on Sunday that it had obtained details of the deal signed by the 33-year-old in 2017.

The mega-money agreement, which expires in June this year, would see Messi receive up to €555,237,619 across four seasons, providing a number of conditions are met.

Messi was at the centre of a major transfer storm when he attempted to force a move away from Camp Nou last August, but was left frustrated when Barca refused to sanction an exit.

Amid a fraught presidential election campaign, it has remained apparent that all is not well at the Catalan club, whose financial worries are cast in a fresh light after El Mundo's stunning front-page revelations, with the outlet claiming to have laid hands on a copy of "the most sought-after document".

In addition to annual earnings in excess of €138m – dependent on some variables – the report says Messi received a renewal fee of over €115m, and a loyalty bonus just shy of €78m.

The Argentina international, who also rakes in millions in image rights, is said to have earned more than €500m from the eye-watering deal so far.

Barca's accounts for the 2019-20 season showed gross debt had reached €820m, with the coronavirus pandemic having further dented their outlook.

Against the backdrop of those financial woes, Messi's desire to leave, and with a fractious presidential election not due to be concluded until March, Barca are still off the pace in LaLiga despite a run of four consecutive top-flight wins.

Ronald Koeman's side are 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Sunday's visit of Athletic Bilbao.

Messi, who was red carded for the first time in his career earlier this month, has contributed 15 goals in all competitions.

Sergio Ramos is reportedly set to quit Real Madrid and is eyeing Manchester United, while David Alaba is apparently not a target for Manchester City.

Ramos, 34, seems set to leave Madrid at the end of the season with his contract expiring.

With the defender appearing no closer to agreeing to a new deal, he could make the move to the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS TO QUIT MADRID, EYES MAN UTD

Ramos is ready to quit Real Madrid and his camp are set to target Manchester United as his next destination, according to the Mirror.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Everton have also been linked with the defender.

Ramos has been at Real Madrid since 2005, winning five LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other honours.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another defender set to move at season's end is David Alaba, with the Bayern Munich star linked with numerous European giants as his contract comes to an end. But 90min reports Manchester City will not be making an approach for the Austria international.

- Amid an injury crisis at centre-back, Liverpool could sign a defender before Monday's transfer deadline. The Evening Standard reports they are interested in Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

- Arsenal may not be done in this transfer window, either. The Mirror says Arsenal are considering a move for Crystal Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

- Marcos Rojo is set to get a Manchester United exit. Sky Sports reports the defender will terminate his contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, before joining Boca Juniors on a free transfer.

David Bettoni insisted Real Madrid would continue pushing for the LaLiga title despite a "painful" loss to Levante on Saturday.

Madrid suffered their third loss in four games in all competitions, beaten 2-1 by Levante after Roger Marti's 78th-minute winner.

Marco Asensio had given Madrid the lead despite Eder Militao's early red card, but Jose Luis Morales Nogales equalised and Marti – who missed a penalty – secured three points for Levante.

While Madrid are seven points behind rivals Atletico, who also have two games in hand, Bettoni – who took charge as Zinedine Zidane recovers from coronavirus – said the LaLiga giants would keep fighting.

"Real Madrid fans keep believing in their team because they know we're a side that will always fight until the end for all of the titles that we want to win," the assistant coach told a news conference.

"Especially in the second half where we were playing with 10 men against a very good Levante side, we were still playing well. We were pressing well despite being one man down. I think we could have won but we weren't able to.

"I can take nothing away from the attitude of the players. That's what we're sticking with today after the result. I think all Real Madrid fans would have seen the performance and can be pleased, but not with the result.

"It's obviously painful for us all but nothing can be questioned about the attitude of the team. We saw a team that fought until the end."

Before giving Levante the lead, Marti missed a penalty, meaning he has netted just one of his past three spot-kicks in LaLiga.

It was Militao's red card that proved costly, though, as the defender suffered the fastest sending off of a Madrid outfield player in LaLiga since at least the 2003-04 season.

With Madrid behind, star forward Karim Benzema was substituted with eight minutes remaining, and Bettoni said he wanted fresh legs.

"We made the change because we wanted to bring on Mariano [Diaz]. We wanted to make that change and we don't look at who the top scorer of the team is," he said.

"We have a very good squad, we have a very good second striker in Mariano. We wanted to bring him on to try and bring on fresh legs up front.

"He's very good in the air and he likes to fight for the ball, so we just wanted to change one striker for another, nothing more."

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez said he is in advanced talks with the club over a new contract.

The Argentina international's existing deal does not run out until the end of the 2022-23 season, but he has been linked with a move away from Inter.

Martinez has scored 41 goals and supplied 12 assists in 112 games in all competitions for Inter since he joined them from Racing Club in July 2018.

Speaking after Inter's 4-0 win over Benevento on Saturday, Martinez said he is on course to commit his future to the Nerazzurri.

"We're looking for that," Martinez told DAZN, when asked if he close to signing a deal until 2024.

"I'm happy at Inter, everyone behaves very well with me."

Martinez ended a run of four Serie A games without a goal against Benevento as victory ensured Antonio Conte's side kept the pressure up on leaders Milan.

The 23-year-old was guilty of missing a number of chances in the match as he took his tally against promoted teams to eight in 14 appearances.

"Of course, I'm a striker and I have to score but I work for the team," he added.

"I have to improve. I want to do it every day, give my best for Inter and for the coach to see it.

"There are many easy goals that I don't score, and I score one that I haven't tried. But the important thing is that Inter win, I work to give my best. We are happy."

Martinez's fellow striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice even though his performance was far from a vintage one.

"He is very important for us, today even at a low level he scored two goals," Martinez explained.

"We are happy, we work for this and we are happy if Inter win. Then if we score, it's better."

Andrea Pirlo believes Juventus are starting to see the best of Federico Chiesa after he overcame his initial shyness following a loan move from Fiorentina. 

Italy international Chiesa scored his sixth Serie A goal of the season (one coming for Fiorentina) on Saturday as Juve defeated Sampdoria 2-0 at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. 

Aaron Ramsey added the second in stoppage time as Juve made it three consecutive wins against Claudio Ranieri's side without conceding a goal. 

Pirlo is impressed with the impact Chiesa is starting to have on the defending champions but has urged the 23-year-old to add to his goal tally.

"Chiesa is a young player who joined a big club, facing international matches for the first time, and it was a big step up for him, so he was a little shy at first," Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia. 

"He's settled now, gained in confidence and has improved a great deal.

"It's good that he is finishing off the moves that we attack, and he ought to do it more often, making the most of his runs from deep."

Cristiano Ronaldo did not enjoy similar success in front of goal, the game marking the first time he has gone three Serie A matches without finding the back of the net since April 2019.

Pirlo, though, was not too critical of his star man and praised him for his contribution to both goals, the Portuguese star teeing up Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado's assists. 

"Ronaldo gave his contribution again today with his passes for both goals, so the important thing is that the team wins," he added.

Juve have won six of their seven matches across all competitions in 2021 and Pirlo believes his players are starting to hit their stride as they bid to eat into Milan's seven-point lead over them at the Serie A summit.

"When the defence keeps a clean sheet, it also means the midfield and attack have started the press," he said. "We're improving, but can do even better.

"We are starting to find our form and making the movements more automatic, because in the first few games they were practically test runs, as we didn't really have a pre-season training camp.

"It took a little longer than usual, but we're finding our feet now and will keep improving."

Juve face Inter in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday before hosting Roma in Serie A on Saturday. 

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Inter kept the pressure up on Serie A leaders Milan with a confident 4-0 home victory over Benevento on Saturday.

Antonio Conte's side took the lead through a Riccardo Improta own goal in the seventh minute and were never really troubled at San Siro.

Lautaro Martinez ended a run of four Serie A games without a goal with a fine finish for Inter's second as he took his tally against newly promoted teams to eight in 14 appearances.

Lukaku then wrapped up the points for Inter when he scored twice with clinical finishes after smart assists from Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.

The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has vowed to keep a watchful eye on its parent body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) after pointing out that it had ‘misgivings’ with its management of the country’s football.

Among the concerns highlighted in a press release issued on Friday, KSAFA mentioned a lack of transparency regarding its restructuring proposal.  The local football bodies had clashed last year when the JFF had expressed the desire to implement wide-ranging reform to the island’s clubs and competition structure.

In addition, KSAFA expressed concerns regarding plans being in place for the start of the World Cup Qualifying campaign and youth development programs.  The body has resolved to establish a subcommittee responsible for monitoring and evaluating the actions of the JFF.

“At its meeting held to deliberate wide-ranging missteps of the local governing body, KSAFA was unified in expressing misgivings about the JFF’s plans to chart the course for Jamaica’s football,” the release read.

“KSAFA is committed to not only highlight the JFF’s missteps and to express misgivings, but is also insisting on greater accountability and transparency from the JFF.”

Federico Chiesa and Aaron Ramsey were on target as Juventus sealed a 2-0 Serie A win over Sampdoria at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday.

Italy international Chiesa put Andrea Pirlo's side on their way midway through the first half with his sixth top-flight goal of the season, while Cristiano Ronaldo missed opportunities to extend their advantage.

Fabio Quagliarella twice went close for Claudio Ranieri's side after the break, but Juve wrapped up a third consecutive win over Sampdoria without conceding a goal when Ramsey scored in stoppage time. 

The result means Juve leapfrog Roma into third - seven points behind leaders Milan - although Paulo Fonseca's side will usurp them if they beat Hellas Verona on Sunday.

After a sluggish start, Juve went ahead with their first shot on target in the 20th minute.

Ronaldo fed Alvaro Morata down the right and the Spain international's low cross was tucked away by Chiesa from six yards.

Ronaldo twice came close to extending Juve's lead before the interval, but Emil Audero tipped over his fierce long-range strike and the Portuguese superstar later missed the target after rounding the Sampdoria goalkeeper.

The hosts, who failed to register a shot on target in the first half, improved after the break, with only a superb block from Giorgio Chiellini denying Quagliarella an equaliser. 

Wojciech Szczesny thwarted the veteran striker from a tight angle soon after as Sampdoria threatened to draw level.

That threat soon disappeared, though, and substitute Ramsey made sure of a vital three points when he slid home from Juan Cuadrado's pass following a swift counter-attack.

 

Thibaut Courtois insists Real Madrid will fight until the end in this season's LaLiga title race but acknowledges Atletico Madrid's outstanding form will make it tough.

The defending champions lost 2-1 at home to Levante on Saturday, meaning they remain seven points behind the league leaders, who now have two games in hand.

Madrid led through Marco Asensio after 13 minutes but were already down to 10 men by that stage, Eder Militao dismissed following a two-minute VAR delay.

Timed at eight minutes and 12 seconds, it was the quickest red card received by a Madrid outfield player in LaLiga since at least the 2003-04 season.

Los Blancos could not withstand the Levante pressure and were pegged back before half-time by Jose Luis Morales.

Courtois saved a penalty – his second such stop for the club – after the break, but Roger Marti, the man denied from 12 yards, struck the winner late on.

The setback represented a big blow to Madrid, who had been enjoying their best home run of a tricky season with four straight wins.

Meanwhile, Atletico, who visit Cadiz on Sunday, have won seven in a row in LaLiga.

"We have to fight. LaLiga lasts until May," Courtois said. "We have to react and hope Atletico lose, but they keep winning.

"Today we cannot consider it a bad game or a good game – we had to play with one less."

Courtois was not convinced by the red card for Militao, one of just two first-half Madrid fouls.

The defender was initially shown a yellow card as he tangled with Sergio Leon, but the referee headed to the pitchside monitor and considered the retreating Raphael Varane to have been taken out of the game by the forward's touch.

"I don't think he means to knock down the player," Courtois said. "And Varane is close. Although [Leon] has a chance, I don't think it's a red."

Courtois added Madrid "missed something" in attack, failing to aim a single shot on target in the second half while their goalkeeper made six saves across the 90 minutes – his most in a single game for the club.

"I want to highlight our game, which was difficult after we were left with 10," Bettoni said. "We showed character and a lot of pride.

"The fans have to continue believing in their team. We will fight to the end for the remaining titles.

"The effort of the players has been great and that is what matters to us, although obviously we are disappointed by this defeat."

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