Valencia have hired club great Ruben Baraja as their new head coach following the dismissal of Gennaro Gattuso.

Former Milan and Napoli boss Gattuso was removed from his post on January 30 after presiding over just 18 LaLiga games with embattled Los Che.

Gattuso left with Valencia – who finished ninth last term – 14th in the table, and three successive defeats since under the guidance of regular caretaker coach Voro have seen them slide into the relegation zone.

Traditionally one of Spain's biggest clubs, Valencia are now potentially facing the prospect of dropping out of LaLiga for the first time since the 1980s – their single campaign in the Segunda during the 1986-87 season is the only year they have spent outside the top-flight since the early 1930s.

Valencia had briefly looked to be enjoying a resurgence under Marcelino Garcia Toral, who led them to Copa del Rey success and back-to-back fourth-place finishes between July 2017 and September 2019.

But he and sporting director Mateu Alemany, now in charge of transfers at Barcelona, were both sacked for criticising the club's deeply unpopular owner Peter Lim.

Baraja will be the fifth permanent head coach since Marcelino's exit three and a half years ago.

The former Spain international was a key part of the Valencia team during one of the most successful periods in their history.

He helped them to LaLiga success in 2001-02 and 2003-04, a UEFA Cup in 2003-04, the 2004 European Super Cup and the Copa del Rey in 2007-08. He retired in 2010 after a decade at the club.

Baraja returned to Valencia three years later as a youth coach and also worked with the reserves before setting out on his own, but he has had minimal success as a head coach.

All of his previous jobs have been in the Segunda, and with no team has he lasted more than a year.

He almost led Sporting Gijon to LaLiga during the 2017-18 campaign, only to fall during the play-offs – he left a few months later after presiding over only three wins in 14 games at the start of the 2018-19 season.

Baraja was most recently in charge of Real Zaragoza in 2020 but was sacked after less than three months at the helm.

He returns to Valencia amid the backdrop of fan protests against Lim, with thousands of supporters staging a demonstration prior to Saturday's home defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

Lim rescued Valencia from financial ruin and administration, but supporters feel he has mismanaged the club for much of his nearly nine years as steward.

Carlo Ancelotti insists Real Madrid will fight to claw back Barcelona in the LaLiga title race.

Los Blancos sit in second place, 11 points behind their Clasico rivals with a game in hand, which they play against Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Fresh from winning the Club World Cup after beating Al Hilal 5-3 in Morocco at the weekend, Ancelotti stated his belief that winning trophies makes you hungrier for more.

"I don't think it's a problem for Real Madrid," he told reporters. "The idea I have is that winning helps you win. When you win you feel things you want to repeat.

"Repeating is motivation for us. We have a disadvantage in LaLiga, but we're going to fight."

Madrid have won just four of their last nine LaLiga games (D2, L3) and were beaten 1-0 at Real Mallorca last time out.

"I don't need to give arguments," Ancelotti added. "Our fans know the professionalism of this team, of these players. They know that we are going to fight every game. I don't think anyone thinks that we are in a 'critical' situation."

The Italian coach was without Thibaut Courtois in Morocco, with the goalkeeper getting injured prior to the Mallorca defeat, but while Courtois will also not be available against Elche, Ancelotti believes he could have the 2022 Yashin Trophy winner back for Saturday's game against Osasuna.

Toni Kroos will also be missing on Wednesday through illness, though Eder Militao and Lucas Vazquez are in line to return.

"Courtois will not be there tomorrow, I hope he will be there for Saturday against Osasuna," he said. "Militao returns, Lucas returns... We have Kroos out, who has a problem."

Ancelotti was positive about Kroos' long-term availability, though, hinting that the German midfielder could sign a new deal with the club.

"I know what is going to happen, but I can't say it. I'm not Kroos," he said. "He hasn't told me, but the feeling is that he's going to renew, but we'll see."

When asked about Karim Benzema doing the same, Ancelotti replied: "I don't know, but I repeat: the legends of Real Madrid must retire at Real Madrid."

He was more certain that Benzema will still be at the club next season, though, despite suggestions that Madrid will be in the market for a new striker at the end of this campaign.

"Well, that Madrid needs a nine is an opinion," he said. "We have Karim, who is not a child, but he will be with us next year. This is not the time to think about next year."

Inter defender Stefan de Vrij has been made aware of interest from LaLiga clubs by his agent as he weighs up whether to renew his contract at San Siro.

With De Vrij's deal expiring at the end of the season, Spanish champions Real Madrid – as well as their rivals Atletico Madrid – have been credited with an interest in him.

Inter will lose Milan Skriniar at the end of the campaign after he reached a pre-contract agreement with Paris Saint-Germain, and fellow defender De Vrij could follow him through the exit door.

Asked about interest from Spain's biggest clubs after Monday's goalless draw at Sampdoria, De Vrij said: "These are words from my agent, I try to concentrate on work and on the field."

However, the prospect of the Netherlands international staying in Milan cannot be ruled out, as he added: "I'm on very good terms with the club. We're talking and, when there's news, you'll find out."

Inter are now 15 points adrift of Serie A leaders Napoli following their failure to break down Sampdoria, and De Vrij accepts the Scudetto is a lost cause this campaign.

"The 15 points away from Napoli are too many," he said. 

"On the one hand there is a Napoli that is flying by winning every game, on the other there is us, who are unable to bring home certain results."

Joao Felix has had a mixed start to his loan spell at Chelsea, but the Premier League club are eager to make his stay permanent.

The 23-year-old Portugal forward joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid in January, getting sent off on debut before scoring on his Premier League return against West Ham on Saturday.

Felix signed for Atletico from Benfica in 2019 on a seven-year contract for a transfer fee of €126 million and extended his deal until 2027 prior to the move to Stamford Bridge.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA WANT PERMANENT JOAO FELIX STAY

Chelsea want to make Joao Felix's stay at Stamford Bridge permanent, according to Relevo.

The Portuguese is on loan with the Blues for the rest of the season from Atletico Madrid, with Chelsea willing to pay €100 million (£88.3m) for his services.

The Spaniards were originally asking for more, believed to be around €130m-140m (£115m-£124m) but may be willing to accept a reduced fee.

Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic could be heading in the opposition direction with Atletico considering a cut-price bid for Chelsea's United States international, according to Fichajes.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are monitoring Tottenham forward Richarlison and Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, reports ESPN. Los Blancos are looking for long-term replacements for 35-year-old Karim Benzema.

- Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain is uncertain with the French champions to place him on their transfer list in the upcoming off-season, claims Foot Mercato. PSG paid a staggering €222m for Neymar in 2017 but are set to move on.

- Chelsea's pursuit of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice could lead them to sell Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to raise funds for the deal, claims Football Insider.

- Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka for a free transfer at the end of this season, claims German journalist Christopher Michel.

- Bayern Munich want to sign Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo for a reduced fee, rather than trigger the €70 million buy option, reports 90min. The report claims a fee around €60m is more realistic.

Jakub Jankto has come out as gay, becoming the first LaLiga player to do so.

The Czech Republic international is on loan at Sparta Prague from parent club Getafe.

Jankto posted a video on Twitter on Monday where he made the announcement, with a caption at the end stating: "This is not an entertainment. The purpose of this video is to encourage others."

"I am Jakub Jankto and like everybody else, I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses," the 27-year-old said.

"I have a family and I have my friends. I have a job which I have been doing as best as I can for years with seriousness, professionalism and passion.

"Like everybody else I also want to live my life in freedom, without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.

"I am homosexual and I no longer want to hide myself."

Jankto has 45 caps for the Czech Republic, including making five appearances at Euro 2020.

The former Udinese and Sampdoria midfielder joined Getafe in August 2021, before returning to his native country in a loan deal with Sparta at the start of this season, where he has one goal in 10 Czech First League appearances.

Jankto is the latest professional footballer to come out as gay following Adelaide United's Josh Cavallo in 2021 and Blackpool youngster Jake Daniels last year.

Real Madrid are eager to bolster their forward options, with a quality striker wanted to deputise for Karim Benzema.

Benzema, who is now 35-years-old, has battled injuries this season and played in 12 of their 20 LaLiga games.

Los Blancos have been regularly linked with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while there have been reports of a big-money bid for Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani in recent days.

Instead of signing another French forward though, there is a report that Madrid are eyeing up a Brazilian.


TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI WANTS FIRMINO

Real Madrid want to sign Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino on a free transfer at the end of this season, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

Liverpool are bullish on re-signing Firmino but no extension has yet been agreed, with his contract due to expire in June.

According to the report, Atletico Madrid and Inter are also interested in the 31-year-old, who has been battling a calf injury in recent months.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona president Joan Laporta is determined to sign Julian Alvarez from Manchester City, reports Fichajes. The report claims "Laporta will do everything in his power" to land the Argentinean World Cup winner.

- Manchester City are monitoring Southampton full-back Tino Livramento, claims the Evening Standard. The English 20-year-old is viewed as a long-term successor to Joao Cancelo, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich.

- Tuttomercatoweb reports that Bayer Leverkusen will compete with Juventus to sign Alex Grimaldo from Benfica. The Bianconeri want the left-back as a replacement for the departing Alex Sandro.

- Chelsea have joined the contenders to sign Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, writes Football.London. Raya's contract expires in 2024, with interest also from Tottenham and Manchester United too.

- West Ham United are circling for Brazil international striker Pedro, who plays for Flamengo, according to Fichajes.

- Former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch is being considered for the vacant Southampton job following Nathan Jones' dismissal, claims The Athletic. Football Insider reports Southampton and Leeds both want Marcelo Gallardo, while the Mail adds that Saints are also interested in Torino boss Ivan Juric.

Xavi is adamant there is still more to come from Barcelona after his side battled to a 1-0 win at Villarreal to open up an 11-point lead at the LaLiga summit.

Barcelona continued their perfect record this calendar year with an 11th victory in a row thanks to Pedri's first-half strike at El Madrigal.

The Catalan giants struggled to kill off the contest, with Robert Lewandowski having three attempts saved by Pepe Reina, and that almost came back to haunt them late on.

Samuel Chukwueze found a way past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the goal was quickly ruled out for offside as Barca kept a fifth clean sheet in six league games.

Despite now having a double-figures points advantage on Madrid, who play their game in hand at Elche on Wednesday, Xavi is not ruling Los Blancos out of the title race.

"There are many points left to play for," he told Movistar+. "The run of form we are on is extraordinary, but we can still improve certain things.

"Villarreal wanted to have possession today, and they squeezed us. We missed a lot of final passes and, by doing so, we have ended up suffering."

 

Barcelona have recorded seven wins by a 1-0 scoreline in 21 LaLiga games this season, equalling their highest total in a full season in the history of the competition.

They have conceded just seven LaLiga goals all campaign, which is six fewer than any other team across Europe's top five leagues.

"The defensive side of things isn't our main weapon, but it is bringing us results," Xavi said. "The defence starts from Robert [Lewandowski], which is very noticeable.

"We leave here having given no big chances to Villarreal and we leave very happy."

Pedri's goal in the 18th minute was his sixth of the season in the league, with four of those coming in 1-0 victories for Barca.

Indeed, no player has won more points for his team in LaLiga with goals this season than Pedri (10 points, level with Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias).

The Spain international was played through on goal following a quick one-two with Lewandowski, but only after Barcelona turned possession over in midfield.

"The game was like that. We either stole the ball off them or they stole it off us," Xavi added. "It's about taking advantage. I think today's victory came from that aspect."

Barca host Cadiz in their next league match, but first is a Europa League knockout play-off round first leg against Manchester United on Thursday.

Pedri's first-half strike earned Barcelona a 1-0 win at Villarreal and moved the LaLiga leaders 11 points clear at the summit.

With closest challengers Real Madrid away on Club World Cup duty – which they won with victory over Al Hilal in Saturday's final – Barca took full advantage at El Madrigal.

Pedri struck with 18 minutes played after linking up with Robert Lewandowski, who had a couple of attempts saved by Villarreal goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Villarreal had the ball in the net late on but Samuel Chukwueze's strike was ruled out as Barca opened up a double-figures lead on Madrid, who have a game in hand to play.

Reina denied Lewandowski from a one-on-one inside the first three minutes, but the Poland striker played a big part in Barca's breakthrough goal.

Pedri played a quick one-two with Lewandowski, controlled the return pass when it arrived to him in front of goal and calmly tucked the ball away from Reina.

Lewandowski was again thwarted by Reina when going for goal himself, but Villarreal gave Barca a scare as Jose Luis Morales raced through and fired into the side-netting.

Both sides continued to create the occasional opening, with Raphinha sending an effort across the face of goal and Alex Baena flashing wide from further out at the other end.

Villarreal edged the second period and thought they had levelled through Chukwueze, but Yeremy was flagged for offside as Barca kept a fifth clean sheet in six league games.

Long-serving Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke set a new record for the most league appearances of any player for the club in Sunday's meeting with Celta Vigo.

The 31-year-old featured in Atletico colours for 402nd time in LaLiga to overtake fellow Atleti icon Adelardo Rodriguez outright.

Koke is also the club's record appearance maker in all competitions, a record he set in October when appearing for the 554th time.

Spain international Koke emerged through Los Rojiblancos' youth ranks and made his first outing for the senior side in a 5-2 loss at Barcelona in September 2009.

Across his 13 years with Atletico, Koke has won eight major trophies, including LaLiga in 2014 and 2021, while also reaching two Champions League finals.

Valencia head coach Salvador Gonzalez 'Voro' has pleaded with the struggling club's fans to express their "Valencianism" to help the team.

Thousands of supporters staged a protest prior to Saturday's home game with Athletic Bilbao aimed at owner Peter Lim, with Valencia in the LaLiga relegation zone.

A 2-1 defeat to Athletic meant Los Che have now picked up just one point from their past seven league games and lost four in a row.

Despite the defeat, Voro was pleased with the performance of his side, who took the lead through Samu Castillejo, only for goals from Nico Williams and Oihan Sancet to turn things around at the Mestalla.

Voro said: "The team has been closer to being able to win and has been focused except on some detail that Athletic has taken advantage of.

"The attitude has been very good and it's unfair, but football is like that. It's a sad day, but improvements have been seen and you have to compete equally to be able to win games."

When asked about the fan protests, Voro added: "The situation is very complicated from a sporting perspective. 

"We understand that the public may be upset, I respect that everyone expresses their Valencianism in the way they consider, but we need the people.

"We are in a very difficult situation, and I think that today there are green shoots. It has not given us a win, but we have lost due to specific actions, football has these things."

Valencia striker Hugo Duro understands the fans' frustration.

"It is normal for the fans to be this demanding when they are in this situation, I would be too," he said after the Athletic game. "We've had 37,000 people come out here tonight and we cannot ask for more.

"They support however they can and the rest is down to us."

Toni Kroos is yet to decide whether he will renew his contract with Real Madrid, but the midfielder remains "calm" concerning his talks with Los Blancos.

Kroos started as Madrid wrapped up a record-extending fifth Club World Cup title on Saturday, Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde both scoring twice in a thrilling 5-3 win over Al Hilal.

While Kroos remains a key player for Madrid, appearing in 17 of their 20 games in LaLiga this term, he is yet to extend his contact at the Santiago Bernabeu, which expires at the end of the season.

Reports in December suggested Kroos would decide whether to pen a one-year extension in February, but the former Germany international is still pondering his future.

"There are different things that you have to think about if you want to continue or not," Kroos said after Saturday's win. "I'm thinking about it. 

"It won't take many more months, but there still isn't a decision.

"We are very calm and there is a relationship between the club and myself that nobody does nonsense. I am very calm." 

Kroos has featured in all five of Madrid's Club World Cup triumphs, and he says the manner in which Los Blancos qualified – winning a series of dramatic knockout ties en route to last term's Champions League success – sweetens the achievement.

"To get here you have to win the Champions League and that is what we are going to try to do again, although it is difficult," he said. "The road is very long. 

"Also, remembering how we suffered in the Champions League in the knockout games and in the final, getting here is a prize. 

"Here the rivals may not have the quality of the Champions League, but it's the game of their lives and you have to play a serious game."

Liverpool supporters can be forgiven for already thinking ahead to next season after what has been a terrible 2022-23 campaign to date.

Out of both domestic cup competitions and down in 10th in the Premier League, only a Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid is keeping the Reds' season alive.

While questions have been asked of manager Jurgen Klopp's future, the German looks set to stay on at Anfield after reportedly being given the necessary funds to rebuild the squad. 

With several key players such as Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk all in or approaching their 30s, a major overhaul may well be required.


TOP STORY – KLOPP TO STAY ON AT ANFIELD

According to The Telegraph, Liverpool's owners will provide Klopp with "significant funds" to freshen up the Reds' ageing squad ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

That could mean a number of established stars being moved on to make room for the likes of Jude Bellingham and Matheus Nunes, who are both high on Klopp's wanted list.

The report also suggests Liverpool are close to bringing in a successor to head of research Ian Graham, who helped identify Salah, Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson as previous targets.

Klopp is said to be happy with the assurances received from his bosses as he plans ahead for what would be his ninth season in charge at Anfield.


ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are interested in signing Kingsley Coman, but Bayern Munich will not sell for anything less than €100million, according to Sky Germany. Coman still has four and a half years to run on the contract he signed in January 2022.

- Should Coman depart, the same report indicates Bundesliga leaders Bayern may turn their focus to Borussia Monchengladbach's Randal Kolo Muani, who is valued at the same figure.

- According to Spanish outlet El Nacional, Madrid turned down a big-money offer from Paris Saint-Germain to sign Vinicius Junior last year. French champions PSG are said to have offered as much as €135m, which Los Blancos president Florentino Perez shot down.

- Chelsea chiefs are resigned to losing Mason Mount at the end of the season, per The Telegraph. Academy product Mount is due to be out of contract next year and has been unable to agree fresh terms with the Blues.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Reiss Nelson's future remains undecided as talks over a new deal with Arsenal are not at an advanced stage. The 23-year-old, who has been restricted to just two substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, is set to become a free agent in July as things stand.

Xavi retains "blind confidence" in Ansu Fati and is baffled by talk of the Barcelona forward's future being uncertain.

Fati has made 20 appearances for Barca in LaLiga this season, but 13 of those have come from the bench with two of Raphinha, Ousmane Dembele and Gavi usually preferred out wide of star striker Robert Lewandowski.

Reports this week credited Premier League trio Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal with an interest in Fati, who has scored three league goals and provided three assists in his limited playing time this term.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's trip to Villarreal, Xavi said Spain international Fati can make a big impact now and in the future, questioning why rumours about his future were rife outside the transfer window.

"We expect a lot from him, I have blind confidence in him," Xavi said of the 20-year-old. "I have it with everyone. We have been shaping the squad based on what I wanted. 

"I have confidence with everyone and especially with Ansu. He is a player for the present and for the future. He has to have patience and give everything when he comes in, which he is doing.

"At this moment there is no one transferable. The market has finished, I don't know what we are doing talking about sales, we are playing the season. 

"We are talking about the sale of Ansu, who was not talked about all month in January. I don't understand it and even less in the Barcelona environment. I have a lot of hope for him."

Fati will hope to get a chance to impress at the Estadio de la Ceramica – he has scored four goals in five league appearances against Villarreal, more than against any other opponent. 

Barcelona must juggle two competitions in the coming weeks, with the first leg of a mouthwatering Europa League tie against United coming four days after their meeting with Villarreal.

Xavi, however, is taking things game by game, saying: "There is no priority, we want to win the titles for which we compete. The most important game is always the next one."

Barca are likely to be without captain Sergio Busquets for at least two weeks after the 34-year-old suffered a sprained ankle in last week's 3-0 win over Sevilla.

The Blaugrana great is yet to pen a new contract amid suggestions Inter Miami hope to lure him to Major League Soccer, and Xavi reiterated the midfielder will decide his own future.

"With Busi there will be no problem," Xavi said. "He knows that he is extremely important. He is a living legend and his personal decision will mark his future. Only he decides.

"We go as the president [Joan Laporta], Busi and I and there is a very good vibe. It will depend on Busi, what he wants to do."

Liverpool and Newcastle United are reportedly among the Premier League teams exploring a potential move for Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah – and the interest could be mutual.

Tah, 26, is in his eighth season in Leverkusen after arriving ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, racking up 283 appearances in all competitions and earning 16 senior international caps for Germany.

After five consecutive seasons finishing in the Bundesliga's top-six, Leverkusen have struggled this campaign, with just seven wins and a negative goal difference after 19 games, leaving them 10th.

Facing an uphill battle for any European football next season, the club will reportedly struggle to convince Tah to stick around, especially with plenty of interest from his desired landing spot in the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – TAH SETS HIS SIGHTS ON THE PREMIER LEAGUE

According to 90min, Tah is "keen to take his talents to England at the end of the season".

He has two more seasons on his contract, tying him to Leverkusen until 2025, leaving the club with a difficult decision about whether to hang on to one of their top players or cash in and use the funds to improve the squad.

As well as Liverpool and Newcastle, West Ham are also understood to have touched base with Leverkusen about Tah's availability in January, while his name also came up in discussions with Tottenham, but they are said to prefer his centre-back partner Piero Hincapie.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Mirror is reporting Tottenham are admirers of 26-year-old Leicester City midfielder James Maddison

– According to El Nacional, Real Madrid have held talks with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp about potentially taking over from Carlo Ancelotti at the end of the season, and Klopp is said to have requested the Spanish giants pursue Jude Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe.

Milan have an interest in signing 27-year-old Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, per the Mirror, while the Daily Mail adds the Italian side are also impressed by 21-year-old Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun, who has 14 Ligue 1 goals for Reims this season.

Manchester United and Newcastle are said to be two of many clubs keeping a close eye on 18-year-old Royal Antwerp prospect Arthur Vermeeren, per the Daily Mail.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting United, Arsenal and Liverpool have all held talks with the agent of 20-year-old Barcelona forward Ansu Fati.

Carlo Ancelotti resolved to help Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior through the strife affecting him on and off the pitch.

Vinicius has been become a regular target for racist abuse from fans this season, with footage on social media appearing to show discriminatory remarks being directed at him during Madrid's 1-0 defeat to Real Mallorca last Sunday.

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Dani Garcia said in an interview released by Spanish news outlet Durangaldeko Telebista on Friday that he believed Mallorca players had "gone too far" in winding up Vinicius during that game.

Garcia said Vinicius "sometimes makes gestures that he should not do, but then I think that he is also provoked too much", and that by becoming rattled by opponents "he gets hot and honestly it doesn't do him any good".

None of that excuses or serves to explain the racism Vinicius has encountered from the stands, but working through the on-pitch battles he encounters is an area Madrid may be able to influence as they look to get the best out of the Brazil international.

Garcia said he had chided Vinicius more than he would other players in the past, and Madrid head coach Ancelotti is eager to find ways to make life easier for the 22-year-old.

"If you think there is a problem, you have to find a solution," Ancelotti said, speaking ahead of Saturday's Club World Cup final against Al Hilal in Rabat.

"We are not stupid. We are going to find a solution."

Team-mate Aurelien Tchouameni also wants to support Vinicius and hopes LaLiga will take firm action to allow the former Flamengo player to flourish, no longer fearful of facing vile abuse from the stands.

"Vini is fine. We know that there are difficult moments in football, against opponents, the public," Tchouameni said. "We are with him. The important thing is that he focuses on football and shows his level."

Tchouameni, who is also black, said this episode of racism was not an isolated problem.

"Against racism, there should be zero tolerance and it is something that must be eradicated as much as possible," France international Tchouameni said.

"It doesn't matter if they are white, black or red. LaLiga can also take measures, and we hope that the situation will change."

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