Barcelona will not face any sporting sanctions for payments allegedly made to a company part-owned by former referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, LaLiga president Javier Tebas has confirmed.

The Catalan giants have been alleged to have paid €1.4million between 2016 and 2018 to Negreira's company DASNIL 95 SL, with the claims first revealed by broadcaster SER Catalunya earlier this week.

Newspaper El Pais alleged that in return for payments, Barcelona received a written report and DVD assessment of referees prior to games.

Barcelona have strenuously denied wrongdoing, stating they previously hired "an external consultant" who provided video of youth players from other teams, together with "technical reports related to professional refereeing", which it said was "a common practice among professional football clubs".

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said on Thursday it had begun a "request for information" from Barcelona and the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), of which Negreira was a long-time vice-president.

However, statute of limitations laws in Spain only make it possible to punish clubs within three years of any offences, meaning Barca do not face the threat of a points deduction, though criminal action has not been ruled out.

"It is evident that in 2018 and in previous years the 'compliance' regulations which monitor conflicts of interest, both for Barcelona and the referee's committee, failed," Tebas said in a video message published on social media on Thursday.

"From what we are seeing, what's been revealed in the media, they obviously didn't work as these services should never have been provided. Neither the amounts of money, nor the facts which have been unveiled.

"We must clarify from the outset, we have already looked into [sporting sanctions] – it is not possible to impose sports disciplinary sanctions because five years have already passed.

"Criminal jurisdiction is another issue. Now the prosecutor's office is investigating the events that occurred and whether there may be a possible crime of corruption between individuals in terms of match-fixing. Let's see how that investigation ends.

"At LaLiga, we are going to wait and respect the prosecutor's office investigation and once that has finished, see whether it does decide to file the appropriate complaint or lawsuit in the corresponding courts. From there, we will make decisions."

Negreira refereed in the Spanish top flight between 1977 and 1992, before taking up a job with the RFEF between 1994 and 2018.

Barca president Joan Laporta said it is "no coincidence" that the allegations have come to light with the Blaugrana sitting eight points clear at the top of LaLiga.

Former Juventus, Athletic Bilbao and Spain striker Fernando Llorente has retired from football at the age of 37.

Llorente – who has been without a club since the end of last season – made the announcement to Movistar Plus, confirming the end of an 18-year senior career.

When asked about continuing to play football, he replied "No" and suggested he will instead "keep fit by playing padel."

Llorente began his career with Athletic, where he played for nine seasons for the first team, scoring 84 goals in 262 LaLiga games.

He then earned a move to Serie A giants Juventus, where he scored 16 in 34 league games in his first season, though was unable to repeat that form before he left on a free transfer back to Spain with Sevilla in 2015.

After one season at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, where he scored just four goals in 23 LaLiga appearances but won the Europa League, Llorente moved to the Premier League with Swansea City.

He netted 15 league goals in 33 games for the Swans before signing for Tottenham after an impressive year in Wales.

Llorente struggled for game time at Spurs, though, with Harry Kane the established striker at the club.

Nevertheless, he did play a key role in their run to the 2019 Champions League final, scoring the goal that put Spurs through to the semi-finals at the expense of Manchester City.

Llorente was unable to get back to his previous best in spells at Napoli or Udinese, before playing what turned out to be his final season back in Spain with Eibar in the Segunda Division.

He won three Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia crowns and a Europa League during his club career. Llorente was also part of the Spain squads that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, earning 24 caps for his country in all, scoring seven goals.

 

Barcelona will be asked for an explanation after allegations they paid €1.4million to a company part-owned by former LaLiga referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said on Thursday it had begun a "request for information" from Barcelona and the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), of which Negreira was a long-time vice-president.

LaLiga giants Barca have been alleged to have paid the seven-figure sum between 2016 and 2018 to Negreira's company DASNIL 95 SL, with the claims first revealed by broadcaster SER Catalunya.

Newspaper El Pais alleged that in return for payments, Barcelona received a written report and DVD assessment of referees prior to games.

Barcelona have strenuously denied wrongdoing, stating they previously hired "an external consultant" who provided video of youth players from other teams, together with "technical reports related to professional refereeing", which it said was "a common practice among professional football clubs".

The club, whose first team sit eight points clear at the top of LaLiga, said they would take legal action "against those who are trying to tarnish the club's image with possible insinuations against its good reputation".

The RFEF wants to be sure there has been no malpractice, and in a statement said its integrity department "initiated a request for information reserved for both those responsible for the CTA and FC Barcelona".

It added: "As soon as sufficient information is available, the RFEF will adopt the corresponding measures within the framework of legality that must prevail in all these situations."

The process of gathering information began on Wednesday, and the federation statement added: "The RFEF agreed yesterday to appear in the possible judicial procedures that are followed on this matter."

It also pointed out Negreira left the CTA leadership after an overhaul that followed the May 2018 RFEF presidential elections.

Negreira held his role with the RFEF from 1994 to 2018.

The RFEF said its rules dictated that all involved with refereeing and disciplinary matters are "obliged to detail any income, regardless of what is received by the RFEF, that could be related to football for the purpose of being able to evaluate and verify the effective and real absence of conflicts of interest".

Amid the controversy, Barcelona host Manchester United on Thursday evening in the first leg of their Europa League play-off.

Neymar is contracted with Paris Saint-Germain until 2025 but the French champions have reportedly transfer listed him.

The Brazilian forward is on a hefty wage, believed to be around €36 million per year.

Neymar has netted 12 goals in 19 Ligue 1 games this season, adding another five goals in nine appearances in other competitions.


TOP STORY – MEETING HELD AS CHELSEA'S NEYMAR INTEREST DEVELOPS

Le Parisien reports Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has met with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi about a transfer for Neymar.

The report claims the meeting was held in Paris, discussing the conditions around a potential transfer in the next transfer window.

It is claimed that a fee of around €60 million (£53m) has been discussed, although Neymar's significant wages may be a stumbling block to overcome.

 

ROUND-UP

– Inter defender Denzel Dumfries is set to be the subject of off-season bids from both Arsenal and Manchester United, claims Fichajes. The Premier League duo both see an opportunity to sign the Dutchman below market value.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Barcelona have agreed to sign Mexican right-back Julian Araujo from MLS club LA Galaxy. The deal is worth €4 million, with a contract to be signed up until 2026.

– Sport Bild claims Bayern Munich are monitoring the status of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, with consideration being put to a bid prior to the next transfer window. Arsenal are also keep tabs on Rashford's situation, according to Football Insider.

– Bild also reports Bayern are still keen on Tottenham forward Harry Kane but will not be drawn into a bidding war for his services, with Manchester United in the hunt too.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants the club to sign Real Sociedad's 24-year-old midfielder Martin Zubimendi, reports Sport.

Liverpool have held preliminary talks for Torino defender Perr Schuurs, claims Tuttosport.

Eduardo Camavinga says "nothing is impossible" as Real Madrid vow to fight for the LaLiga title after Wednesday's 4-0 win over Elche closed the gap to eight points at the top.

Second-placed Madrid trail Barcelona with 17 games to play, having dropped points in four of their previous nine league games while Barcelona have gone on a six-game winning run.

The Blaugrana have not lost in the league since Los Blancos triumphed 3-1 in the Clasico on October 16, opening up a sizable lead at the summit in the meantime.

"Nothing is impossible at this club," Camavinga told reporters. "We saw that last year with the Champions League, we're going to fight to the end to win LaLiga."

Madrid's victory, achieved after a Karim Benzema first-half double along with goals from Marco Asensio and Luka Modric, comes after they lifted the Club World Cup to shake off their unconvincing league form.

"I would like to thank the fans for their support and we're happy with the win," Camavinga added. "The team is in good shape and we're going to keep going.

"This is a difficult month but we're going to give it all we have."

Dani Ceballas, who started and was replaced by Modric in the 68th minute in midfield, said the eight-gap were surmountable.

"It was important to win to match Barcelona's good run," Ceballos said. "Eight points are not insurmountable and this team deserves to fight until the end and that's what we're going to do until the last game."

Vice-captain Nacho added that the win over Elche offered a timely confidence boost.

"A clean sheet and a game full of goals. Couldn't ask for any more," he said. "The team put in a complete performance from the off, despite Elche's current form.

"We needed to take the points to stay in the chase in LaLiga. These three points mean we're still right in the fight."

Carlo Ancelotti saluted "complete" Karim Benzema after the Real Madrid captain became the club's second-highest LaLiga scorer of all time.

The striker struck twice from the penalty spot in Wednesday's commanding 4-0 win over bottom side Elche, taking his Spanish top-flight tally for the club to 230 goals – surpassing Raul's 228 – with only Cristiano Ronaldo netting more on 311.

Marco Asensio and Luka Modric were also on target as Ancelotti's side closed the gap on league leaders Barcelona to eight points.

And the Italian paid tribute to his in-form number nine, who has now been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 14 appearances for Madrid (12 goals, three assists).

"Karim is not just a striker," the Italian said. "He is very complete, he combines well – today especially with Rodrygo. He is always ready in the area and helps us a lot in possession.

"His career is fantastic and hopefully he can continue. Real Madrid wants him at this level.

"Every game is good to gain confidence. When you win 3-0 and relax, there can be problems and I don't want it. The moment is good. We must maintain this dynamic of concentration and commitment."

Ancelotti also defended his decision to bench Modric, who completed the rout with a wonderful strike 10 minutes from time, as Dani Ceballos, Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde comprised Madrid's three-man midfield.

The head coach highlighted the importance of rotation with his squad aiming to chase down Barca, while a blockbuster Champions League last-16 tie with Liverpool is also on the horizon.

"Modric is untouchable for me and for everyone. Everyone is important, and I have total confidence in everyone," Ancelotti said. "I have to rotate because it's a very demanding season.

"The statistics say that [Toni] Kroos scored against [Athletic] Bilbao when coming off the bench [in last month's 2-0 win] and that, today, Modric has scored coming off the bench. From there, they can contribute goals."

Karim Benzema became Real Madrid’s second-highest LaLiga scorer of all time as Los Blancos eased past bottom side Elche in a 4-0 victory.

The Madrid captain was on target twice from the penalty spot at Santiago Bernabeu, where Marco Asensio had broken the deadlock, while Luka Modric completed the rout later on.

Benzema surpassed legendary striker Raul by taking his Spanish top-flight tally for the club to 230 goals, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (311) netting more.

With Barcelona in Europa League action on Thursday, Carlo Ancelotti’s side capitalised by closing the gap on the league leaders to eight points.

Fresh from claiming a record-extending fifth Club World Cup crown, Madrid took the lead in the eighth minute. Receiving the ball from Dani Carvajal, Asensio weaved through a couple of challenges before slotting past Edgar Badia.

Benzema doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark when he calmly tucked away from 12 yards after his header had been blocked by Enzo Roco’s hand.

Madrid star Benzema repeated the feat in first-half stoppage time, sweeping past Badia after Diego Gonzalez felled Rodrygo.

The hosts looked to stretch their advantage further after the break. Badia kept Rodrygo out twice in as many minutes, while the Elche goalkeeper also denied Benzema his hat-trick.

Benzema and Eduardo Camavinga were marginally off target and Asensio drew smart reflexes from Badia with his fierce volley as Madrid looked to put the icing on the cake.

And they eventually did 10 minutes from time when substitute Modric controlled in the box before superbly drilling into the top corner 

Karim Benzema has surpassed Raul as Real Madrid's second-highest goalscorer in LaLiga.

Benzema moved onto 229 LaLiga goals, from 428 appearances in the competition, as he slotted in from the penalty spot to nose Carlo Ancelotti's side into a 2-0 lead against Elche on Wednesday.

Marcos Asensio's superb goal gave Los Blancos an early lead at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Benzema doubling their advantage just past the half-hour mark after Enzo Roco had handled in Elche's box.

Benzema subsequently scored his 230th LaLiga goal before half-time, converting his second spot-kick of the match.

Madrid great Raul took 550 matches to net his 228 LaLiga goals, meaning Benzema has overtaken him in 122 fewer games.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who is Madrid's record goalscorer, stands way clear of Benzema on 311 goals from just 292 LaLiga appearances.

Benzema was already Madrid's second-highest goalscorer across all competitions, having surpassed Raul last year in that regard.

Germany great Jurgen Klinsmann believes Toni Kroos is an "exceptional player" who can remain at the top level with Real Madrid for another four seasons.

Kroos has made 395 appearance and won a remarkable 18 trophies – including the Champions League four times – for Madrid during nine seasons with the club.

The 33-year-old remains a key player for the LaLiga giants, starting 26 of their 34 games this term – only Federico Valverde (29) and Vinicius Junior (32) have started more often.

However, the midfielder's contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expires at the end of this season and he stated last week he will not rush into making a decision on his future.

Kroos has made clear he will not join another club after he brings an end to his Madrid career, and Klinsmann is hopeful he will hold off from retiring for many more years.

"What he has achieved in the last 10 or 15 years is truly fabulous," Klinsmann told Stats Perform. "He's won it all. I don't even know how many trophies he has won. 

"He is an exceptional player who can manage his energies not only for 90 minutes but up to 120, giving it all for Real Madrid. 

"He could easily play at this level for another three or four seasons, even more since he unfortunately retired from the German national team to save further energy. 

"I hope he can go on playing because it would be sad for him to quit so soon."

 

Kroos' influence has once again been clear for Los Blancos this season, with his 1,219 completed passes the most of any player in LaLiga, despite missing three games.

He also ranks highest in the division for passes attempted per 90 minutes (94) – 11 more than any other player – among those to have featured more than twice. 

Commenting on his future after helping Madrid to another Club World Cup title last weekend, Kroos said: "I will end my career here.

"I just don't know exactly when yet. I'm thinking about it. It won't take many more months, but there is still no decision."

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) have distanced themselves from former LaLiga referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira in the wake of allegations involving Barcelona.

LaLiga giants Barca are alleged to have paid €1.4million to a company part-owned by Negreira between 2016 and 2018.

Negreira, who was the vice president of the CTA, held his role with the RFEF from 1994 to 2018. It is alleged Barca wanted to ensure "that there would be complete neutrality" in refereeing decisions affecting the club.

Barca responded with a statement on Wednesday saying they had hired the services of an external consultant that supplied the club's technical secretaries with reports in video format of youth players from other clubs in Spain.

The Blaugrana added that "the relationship with that supplier extended to technical reports related to professional refereeing in order to complement the information requested by the first and second team coaching staff. This a common practice among professional football clubs."

Barca revealed they would be taking legal action against "those who are trying to tarnish the club's image with possible insinuations against its good reputation that could be caused by the release of such information."

However, the RFEF issued a statement distancing itself and the CTA from any links with Negreira since he left his role five years ago, and vowed to support any investigation into the matter.

"The CTA wants to make it clear that Mr Enriquez Negreira is not part of any federative structure since the change of government carried out after the 2018 elections," a statement issued on RFEF's official website read.

"The CTA regrets the behaviours that may be likely to violate the ethics of the establishment. No active arbitrator or member of the CTA bodies may carry out any work that is likely to enter into a conflict of interest. 

"The CTA makes itself available to offer its maximum collaboration in any type of information that this committee can provide."

Barca president Joan Laporta said it was "no coincidence" that the allegations had come to light with the Blaugrana sitting 11 points clear at the top of LaLiga.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta thinks it is "no coincidence" allegations that the club made large payments to a former vice-president of Spain's Technical Committee of Referees have been made now.

Radio station Ser Catalunya on Wednesday claimed Barca paid €1.4million to a company part-owned by Jose María Enriquez Negreira between 2016 and 2018.

Former LaLiga referee Negreira held his role with the Royal Spanish Football Federation from 1994 to 2018.

It is alleged Barca wanted to ensure "that there would be complete neutrality" in refereeing decisions affecting the Catalan club.

Barca responded with a statement on Wednesday saying they had hired the services of an external consultant that supplied the club's technical secretaries with reports in video format of youth players from other clubs in Spain.

The Blaugrana added that "the relationship with that supplier extended to technical reports related to professional refereeing in order to complement the information requested by the first and second team coaching staff. This a common practice among professional football clubs."

Barca revealed they would be taking legal action against "those who are trying to tarnish the club's image with possible insinuations against its good reputation that could be caused by the release of such information."

Laporta believes it is no coincidence allegations have been aimed at the club while they are sitting pretty at the top of LaLiga and preparing to face Manchester United in a Europa League play-off on Thursday.

"It's no coincidence that this information comes out now," he said. "FC Barcelona in the past had contracted the services of an external consultant to obtain reports from players in the lower categories of Spanish football, and arbitration advice, which is a service that other Spanish clubs hire.

"The news is surprising and it is no coincidence that is has come out now. Any tendentious interpretation that insinuates things that are not will receive a proportional response from the club, we will defend the honour and interests of FC Barcelona."

Barca head coach Xavi said during a press conference: "The club has made a statement, so in line with the club, [I have] no more [to say]. They are years in which I was not in the club, but I defend it."

It's a clash befitting a Champions League final, yet Barcelona and Manchester United will tussle twice over the next nine days just for the right to play in the last 16 of the Europa League.

A result of United's dreadful 2021-22 season and Barca's surprising failure to get out of their Champions League group means two giants of the European game find themselves in UEFA's second-tier competition.

While that might suggest a hint of both being fallen giants, these two teams are enjoying largely promising seasons, with Thursday's first leg at Camp Nou undeniably intriguing.

Barca are on course to win LaLiga for the first time since 2019, while United have made significant strides forward following the beginning of a rebuild with new manager Erik ten Hag. A Premier League title challenge could yet come to fruition.

But the Europa League is where their attention turns now, and United's bid to reclaim the title they won in 2017 – the last trophy they lifted, in fact – has them facing arguably the toughest possible challenge straight away.

The absence of Lisandro Martinez for the first leg due to suspension will be a huge source of frustration for Ten Hag, which highlights just how effective the Argentinian has been in his first few months at the club.

United prepare to suffer

Xavi's spell in charge of Barcelona to this point has been a little difficult to draw conclusions from. That's not just what critics think; there are also many, many supporters who remain uncertain.

They routinely win games without playing particularly spectacular football, and that's essentially the crux of both sides of the debate. Some fans may not be enamoured with the brand of football, but Xavi is getting results.

Since the start of the first LaLiga matchday with Xavi at the helm, Barcelona have amassed 112 points in 47 games – Real Madrid, who've played a match less, have taken 104. That's the same Real Madrid who won a league and Champions League double last year.

Now, he has Barca well on track to win the title this season. Even if they perhaps don't have the same entertainment value as Pep Guardiola's vintage Barcelona, Xavi deserves recognition for the transformation he's overseen, part of which is shown in their work rate.

They are tireless.

Former Barca coach Quique Setien, now at Villarreal, highlighted this after his team were beaten 1-0 by them at the weekend.

"There is something that this Barca has changed a lot, which is without the ball," he said. "The data is there: Barca is the team that runs the most without the ball. Seems surprising, doesn't it? Robert Lewandowski is the first defender."

How does this translate into output? Well, their 210 high turnovers is second only to Athletic Bilbao (223) in LaLiga, while Athletic and Atletico Madrid (35 each) are the only two teams to convert such situations into shooting opportunities more often than Barca (32).

Barca's 324 pressed sequences is bettered by just Athletic (330) and Rayo Vallecano (328), though Xavi's side allow their opposition on average only 8.8 passes before a defensive action. This is a low for LaLiga.

Altogether, these metrics highlight just how hard Barca work to get the ball back when they don't have it, and as such it brings into focus the kind of defensive pressure their opponents' centre-backs are put under.

The centre-back playmaker

That is, of course, where Martinez becomes relevant. Obviously his presence would likely be felt even if Barca didn't press with such intensity, as he's arguably been United's most consistent and impressive defender this season purely from a 'putting-your-body-on-the-line-and-battling-for-the-cause' perspective.

Yet, it's his ability on the ball that makes him key for Ten Hag.

Martinez's importance to United in this respect was as evident as ever during the weekend win at Leeds United. Until his 61st-minute introduction, Ten Hag's men had struggled desperately with their hosts' intensity.

Leeds were ferocious in their pressing, and although left-back Luke Shaw generally did fine in Martinez's place at centre-back, United instantly looked like they had more time on the ball once those two were in their rightful positions.

Martinez was dropping his shoulder to evade attackers, pinging long cross-field passes out to the right. Granted, you could make the case Leeds were tiring, and that's potentially a valid argument, but Martinez's performance wasn't surprising. It's just how he's played ever since making the move from Ajax.

Although he only came on with 29 minutes left, Martinez's 35 passes was only bettered by five of his team-mates and no one on the pitch (minimum three passes) had a better completion rate (85.7 per cent).

His ability on the ball makes Martinez effective at helping United resist pressure. He has lost possession 173 times in the Premier League this season, but that is just 12.3 per cent of his total touches. Only 11 centre-backs (minimum 15 appearances) have lost the ball less frequently.

This is despite his passing being positive and forward-thinking in nature, which is evidenced by the fact only Arsenal's William Saliba (22) has initiated more shot-ending sequences than Martinez (16) in the Premier League this term.

United now go into arguably their biggest game of the season – until next week's EFL Cup final – without him, a match where his strengths will have possibly been more useful than any previous fixture.

But if there's one positive, the need to highlight his importance makes a mockery of those who rushed to write Martinez off at the start of the season.

Erling Haaland's long-term future has been a source of speculation for months and reports of a release clause in mid-2024 in his Manchester City contract have put Barcelona and Real Madrid on high alert.

The Norwegian was pursued by a host of clubs last off-season, with City winning the race ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Haaland has since scored 25 Premier League goals in 21 appearances and 31 in all competitions after joining City.


TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR SPANISH SWITCH NEXT YEAR

Erling Haaland has decided he wants to leave England for Spain next year when the release clause in his City contract can be activated, reports Fichajes.

The report claims Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two viable options for Haaland, who will exit City at the end of the 2023-24 season, with playing in Spain a dream for the 22-year-old.

City's potential sanctions for alleged breaches of the Premier League's financial rules have also played a part in Haaland believing mid-2024 is the right time to leave.

 

ROUND-UP

- Big-spending Chelsea are set to join the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports The Telegraph. Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid are already keen on the 19-year-old England international.

- Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have "genuine interest" in a move for Roma's English striker Tammy Abraham in the next transfer window.

- Barcelona's Ansu Fati will resist overtures from Tottenham, Arsenal and Bayern Munich to remain with the Blaugrana, reports Mundo Deportivo.

- AS reports Tottenham will turn to Sevilla's Morocco international goalkeeper Yassine Bounou in their search for a long-term successor to Hugo Lloris.

- Leicester City have ramped up talks with James Maddison on a new contract amid interest from Newcastle United, Arsenal and Tottenham, claims The Telegraph.

- FotoSpor claims Turkish club Fenerbahce have reached out to Manchester United about signing Mason Greenwood, who is under club investigation despite criminal charges being dropped against him recently.

- Calciomercatoweb reports Massimiliano Allegri could leave his position as Juventus head coach to replace Roberto Mancini in Italy's top job.

Javier Tebas slammed the "ignorance" of The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales for living "in another world" in regards to the proposed European Super League.

Outspoken LaLiga boss Tebas has been a vociferous critic of the new Super League plans, a competition featuring 60 to 80 teams spread across several divisions, which guarantees clubs 14 games per season.

The new Super League proposals came almost two years after 12 clubs, including LaLiga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, attempted to form a breakaway competition.

Rubiales seemingly infuriated Tebas by suggesting to the Europa Press the latter was the "best ambassador for the European Super League".

Tebas wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "The president of the RFEF lives in another world, and shows his ignorance in economic data, television and such.

"By the way, in UEFA, they do not think the same as he does in his statement."

Tebas refuted claims Spanish football will be unable to compete with England's Premier League, referencing a "sustainable" model LaLiga clubs are operating under.

"LaLiga does not compete with the [Premier] League for a commercial issue," Tebas added. "It is a losing league. It is losing billions of pounds a year and that is how it is financing its transfers. 

"Our big clubs with television rights are totally competitive with the English, where they are not with losses. And here we have decided on a sustainable football that we are not going to lose.

"TV audiences go up, stadiums are filled, losses are controlled, but Rubiales' analysis is that LaLiga should follow the example of competitions ruined by the RFEF and a streamers event [the Gerard Pique-backed Kings League], in which they disguise themselves as clowns. I don't get that out of my amazement.

"We are always open to listening and learning, but if the one who tries to give us lessons is a ruinous manager who also lies, then you have to go to the data."

The RFEF swiftly responded to Tebas' series of messages, insisting the governing body has developing Spanish football at the forefront of its aims.

"We make proposals with respect and education," the RFEF posted on Twitter. 

"We denounce the falsehoods that, no matter how much the president of the League repeats them, are not true. We remain open to collaborating to make Spanish football better."

Carlo Ancelotti has been getting teased by his Brazilian players at Real Madrid about stories linking him with their national team.

Reports have suggested that Ancelotti is in line to become Brazil's head coach as the replacement for Tite, who left his role after the Selecao's exit at the 2022 World Cup in the quarter-final stage to Croatia.

At a press conference ahead of Wednesday's LaLiga match against Elche, the Madrid boss was asked if the trio of Vinicius Junior, Eder Militao and Rodrygo have mentioned the rumours.

"They joke about it," the Italian replied. "They laugh about it, but we haven't talked about it. We're friends, they laugh.

"They're jokes. But the reality is different. I have a contract [at Madrid] until 2024."

The three Brazilians have been key to Madrid's success under Ancelotti in recent years, but it was not enough for Vinicius to be named in FIFA's FIFPro Men's Team of the Year 26-player shortlist for 2022.

The shortlist was revealed on Monday, with Vinicius' name surprisingly absent despite winning LaLiga and scoring the only goal of the Champions League final against Liverpool in Paris.

The 22-year-old scored 20 goals and recorded 14 assists in 49 games for Los Blancos in 2022, and Ancelotti has been left confused by his omission from a selection of seven forwards that included his Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among others.

"Vinicius not being there seems strange," he said. "I think they've made a mistake."

Page 7 of 214
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.