Michail Antonio was bullish on West Ham's chances of winning the Europa League after the Premier League side progressed past Sevilla to the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Trailing the six-time Europa League winners 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg, Andriy Yarmolenko won the tie in the 22nd minute of extra time following Antonio's assist for Tomas Soucek in the first half of normal time.

This will be West Ham's first European quarter-finals appearance since the 1980-81 Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Dinamo Tbilisi.

Nevertheless, Antonio feels the Hammers can go on and take the silverware.

"We fear nobody. We play in the Premier League and it doesn’t matter who we play, we try to get the three points," he told BT Sport post-match. "We're in this to win it. We're not just here to take part. Why can't we win it?"

Antonio became only the second player to notch 10 goals and assists for a Premier League club in all competitions this season, after Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. He is the first to do so for West Ham since Dimitri Payet in 2015-16.

He was taken off injured against Aston Villa but managed to play 120 minutes on Thursday, and the 31-year-old believes the home crowd at London Stadium spurred him on.

"I've been here seven years and the only atmosphere close to this was the last day at the Boleyn Ground. The fans roared all the way through, backing us. They were the 12th man," he said.

"I’ll give the win to them, they were the ones who did it for us.

"This season is like a dream come true. This is the first time in Europe for me. I've become West Ham's Premier League top scorer. We're just here enjoying our football."

In the battle between sixth in the Premier League and second in LaLiga, West Ham were the more aggressive, but had to be patient to find the breakthrough.

That the winner came from Yarmolenko, amid the backdrop of armed conflict in his native Ukraine, provided Antonio some added joy.

"We dominated. We always believed in ourselves. From the first half we were on them, creating chances. [We thought] keep doing what we're doing and we'd get the win," he added.

"Andriy Yarmolenko is such a lovely guy. I can't imagine what he's going through. He's got a finishing touch now. Hopefully he can keep doing it."

Michail Antonio was bullish on West Ham's chances of winning the Europa League after the Premier League side progressed past Sevilla to the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Trailing the six-time Europa League winners 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg, Andriy Yarmolenko won the tie in the 22nd minute of extra time following Antonio's assist for Tomas Soucek in the first half of normal time.

This will be West Ham's first European quarter-finals appearance since the 1980-81 Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Dinamo Tbilisi.

Nevertheless, Antonio feels the Hammers can go on and take the silverware.

"We fear nobody. We play in the Premier League and it doesn’t matter who we play, we try to get the three points," he told BT Sport post-match. "We're in this to win it. We're not just here to take part. Why can't we win it?"

Antonio became only the second player to notch 10 goals and assists for a Premier League club in all competitions this season, after Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. He is the first to do so for West Ham since Dimitri Payet in 2015-16.

He was taken off injured against Aston Villa but managed to play 120 minutes on Thursday, and the 31-year-old believes the home crowd at London Stadium spurred him on.

"I've been here seven years and the only atmosphere close to this was the last day at the Boleyn Ground. The fans roared all the way through, backing us. They were the 12th man," he said.

"I’ll give the win to them, they were the ones who did it for us.

"This season is like a dream come true. This is the first time in Europe for me. I've become West Ham's Premier League top scorer. We're just here enjoying our football."

In the battle between sixth in the Premier League and second in LaLiga, West Ham were the more aggressive, but had to be patient to find the breakthrough.

That the winner came from Yarmolenko, amid the backdrop of armed conflict in his native Ukraine, provided Antonio some added joy.

"We dominated. We always believed in ourselves. From the first half we were on them, creating chances. [We thought] keep doing what we're doing and we'd get the win," he added.

"Andriy Yarmolenko is such a lovely guy. I can't imagine what he's going through. He's got a finishing touch now. Hopefully he can keep doing it."

West Ham United manager David Moyes has told fans to expect more European nights in future on the eve of their Europa League round of 16 second leg against Sevilla.

The Hammers welcome the LaLiga side to the London Stadium on Thursday after losing the first leg 1-0 in Spain last week thanks to a Munir El Haddadi strike.

It has been an impressive European campaign for Moyes' team, and the former Everton and Manchester United manager pointed to how well they have done against some of England's elite in recent times.

West Ham are currently sixth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal albeit having played three games more, and have beaten both Liverpool and Chelsea this season.

Ahead of Thursday's second leg, Moyes told a news conference that fans should be prepared for nerves ahead of a big European game, saying: “[The fans] better get used to it because we're going to have more, that’s the way I look at it, we’re going to have a lot more of these types of games.

"I hope there'll be more in this tournament, and I want us to be challenging near the top of the league. If that is the case, then use this as a steppingstone.

"I think this is what West Ham supporters hoped for when they did move [from Upton Park to the London Stadium].

"I think they hoped for European nights and hoped for opportunities to come to big games against big sides. In some ways, we've done that but for me, I’ve only scratched the surface. I feel as if this can only be the beginning and we have to build on it.

"In nearly all the games we've played in we've given the big teams a run for their money and in the Premier League, we're challenging the top teams and if we can challenge the top teams in the Premier League, then we can give ourselves a chance in other games."

The Hammers' boss also spoke about the emotional scenes on Sunday after Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko scored the opener in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

Yarmolenko was in tears as he celebrated the goal in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"It was special, but at the moment I just felt it was us getting one goal in front at the time and it was special for that reason alone because the game was tight, and Aston Villa are a good team," Moyes said. 

"We'd not scored as many goals in open play as we'd have liked, so to go in front was important for us. The special part was Yarmolenko scoring.

"It was the first time he has been back after the war began and he came on and made a difference, scoring the goal, which obviously drew a lot of attention for that reason, but hopefully it's drawn attention in different parts of the world as well."

Anthony Martial acknowledged he fell out of love with football at Manchester United before rediscovering his enjoyment on loan at Sevilla.

Julen Lopetegui's side staved off interest from Juventus and Barcelona to secure the services of Martial on loan in January after limited opportunities at Old Trafford this season.

Rangnick confirmed in December that the 26-year-old wanted to leave due to a lack of first-team chances – he had played the full 90 minutes of a game only once this season and featured for just eight minutes since the German's arrival.

Martial has since registered 297 minutes of action for Sevilla across all competitions, with Lopetegui's team second in LaLiga - 10 points behind Real Madrid - and still in contention for the Europa League.

Sevilla face West Ham in the return leg of their last-16 clash on Thursday in Europe's secondary club competition, and Martial will be hoping to add to his current tally of one goal in six games.

Despite not finding his feet in front of goal as of yet, Martial expressed how much he is enjoying life in Spain.

"For me, it was the best option to play and enjoy football again. I lost it [love for the game] a little bit in Manchester because I was not playing," Martial told the Daily Mail.

"I feel very good in Sevilla. The city is very good and we are a good team so, for me, it's perfect. I'm playing so I'm happy.

"But I'm here just until the end of the season and that's it."

 

Martial became the most expensive teenager in history at the time when he completed a move worth up to £58million (€69m) from Monaco in 2015.

The France international hit the ground running in Manchester, finishing the 2019-20 campaign as United's top scorer with 23 goals.

However, the arrival of Rangnick caused problems after a well-publicised rift between the pair following the German's claims that Martial refused to feature against Aston Villa, which the player denied.

"I asked United to leave because I wanted to play," he added. "I still have a contract but they know what I want, so we will see at the end of the season.

"When he [Rangnick] arrived, my objective was to leave. I told him I wanted to leave and that's it.

"He talked to me and said, 'If you want to stay, with the way you train you will play if you keep training like that'. But I wanted to have a new atmosphere and a new club."

Martial refused to suggest he will use the Sevilla loan as a chance to prove a point to United, but he will use the opportunity to show his worth to France ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"I'm just going there to win and help the team," he continued. "I don't care what people say about me. Really.

"The World Cup for me is an objective. I want to be part of this group and that's why I'm here because I want to play and show I can be in the squad. I need to show my quality and score goals."

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui angrily bemoaned the state of Rayo Vallecano’s pitch, questioning whether their game on Sunday should have gone ahead after his side dropped critical points.

The 1-1 draw in Vallecas keeps Sevilla second but could see them end the matchday 10 points behind league-leaders Real Madrid, who are still to play Real Mallorca on Monday.

Despite the potential title implications, Lopetegui was seemingly more concerned with the pitch quality and how that reflects on LaLiga.

"In a scenario like this, you should not play this game in the Spanish league. I say this for ourselves and Rayo, which is a team that proposes to actually play football," he said post-match.

"It is not good for the league or for the competition and it is also not good for the health of the footballers. The state of the grass is unfortunate."

His criticism did not stop there, however.

The 55-year-old coach saved some for referee Juan Martinez Munuera, with a goal and penalty for Rafa Mir taken away following separate VAR interventions.

The overturned penalty in the 79th minute, with Sevilla chasing a late winner, was particularly contentious as Mir was brought down after apparent contact with Alejandro Catena.

"The referee's action has been decisive. He has annulled a goal and also the action for the penalty. The referees told us that grey areas in decisions are not re-arbitrated and that is why I do not understand," Lopetegui said.

"If we enter into that dynamic, VAR does not have an end. I am surprised by that decision that would not have happened in other games and I am confused by the criteria with VAR that it’s necessary to correct the black and white, but not the grey.

"I think it is an issue to be resolved clearly, but while the issue is being resolved we feel harmed."

West Ham manager David Moyes believes his side are still well-placed to progress from the Europa League round of 16, despite a 1-0 loss to Sevilla on Thursday.

Munir El Haddadi's 60th minute winner was enough to separate the two sides at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, having come into the Sevilla team in place of midfield talisman Ivan Rakitic, who sustained an injury in the pre-match warm-up.

West Ham grew into the match but, aside from an early Nikola Vlasic chance, lacked any tangible threat in the first leg. Nevertheless, Moyes was encouraged by the performance.

"We came up against a really good European team, an experienced team and I thought we came really close tonight to getting a draw," he said afterwards.

"We've just got to turn these games [into results] – on Saturday at Liverpool we could easily have turned that into a draw, tonight we could probably have had a draw.

"It's a lack of concentration a little bit for the goal, then there was a period for 15 or 20 minutes in the second half when they got their tails up and we had to weather it, which we did. I feel that we can be proud of the work we put in. We're right in the tie.”

West Ham were without Jarrod Bowen, who picked up an injury against Liverpool, meaning Vlasic was given a rare start. Said Benrahma was given the task of impacting the game off the bench, along with a late cameo from Arthur Masuaku, but the Hammers failed to achieve parity.

According to Moyes, though, there was enough in the first-leg performance to suggest his side will turn the tie around at London Stadium as long as they defensively disciplined.

"We'll get a goal next week, I've got no doubt about that, and what we need to do is make sure we don't concede any," he said.

"They [Sevilla] are a good team who keep the ball and they might make it difficult for us. We're going to have to probably chase the ball at different times, but ultimately we will go into the game feeling that we are right in the tie."

The Hammers will face Sevilla in the return leg next Thursday, but first host Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

Sevilla will take a slim advantage into their Europa League last-16 second leg against West Ham after winning 1-0 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

A superb second-half strike from Munir El Haddadi was enough to give the LaLiga side the victory, though the visiting Hammers also had their chances.

Munir only came into the side after Ivan Rakitic picked up an injury in the warm-up, and the Moroccan was at the centre of most of his team's best moments.

West Ham manager David Moyes may well be satisfied with his team's performance and coming away from Spain with just a one-goal deficit, as they look to get back into the tie at the London Stadium next Thursday.

Sevilla threatened early with two headers in the first four minutes, first from Youssef En-Nesyri and then Munir, while Nikola Vlasic should have given the Premier League side the lead after 11 minutes but could only direct a free header from point-blank range straight at Yassine Bounou.

Munir went close again just before the half-hour mark as Marcos Acuna found him with a delightful throughball, but the former Barcelona man could only guide his shot wide of Alphonse Areola's right-hand post.

Vlasic also had another opportunity after receiving a knockdown from Michail Antonio, cutting inside and hitting a fierce effort at Bounou's near post, with the keeper turning it behind.

Tomas Soucek forced Bounou into another strong save early in the second half, but it was the home side who took the lead just before the hour when a free-kick from Acuna was crossed to the far post where Munir, in acres of space, coolly side-footed a half-volley into the far corner of the net.

Lucas Ocampos threatened a second as he bent an effort just wide, before Manuel Lanzini was denied an equaliser when Jesus Navas blocked his shot following good work by Said Benrahma, and so it is advantage Sevilla at the half-way point of the tie.

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Will they? Won't they?

Real Madrid's own stuttering form over the past few weeks has at least helped to retain a hint of unpredictability at LaLiga's summit, but it's difficult to not think Sevilla keep blowing their opportunities.

It's not likely to get any easier on Sunday, either. They headed into this matchday six points behind Madrid, which in itself certainly isn't insurmountable.

But then Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano, and Sevilla's visitors are local rivals Real Betis, who are absolutely flying and chasing a victory that would lift them to within just two points of their neighbours.

Prior to Sevilla's slender – and ultimately irrelevant – 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday in the Europa League, the only side to have beaten them this year is Betis, who were 2-1 victors in the Copa del Rey in mid-January.

Since then injuries have played a significant role for Sevilla and they could conceivably be without Gonzalo Montiel, Diego Carlos, Jules Kounde, Lucas Ocampos, Erik Lamela, Suso, Anthony Martial and Karim Rekik on Sunday.

Several of those have been absent for other games in the last few weeks, and in the cases of Lamela and Suso, for much of the season. As such, since that defeat to Betis, Sevilla have won only two of seven games in all competitions.

But to many, a potential obstacle for Sevilla in their quest for an unlikely title triumph had long been identifiable, and it will only be made even more obvious against Betis.

Replacing the irreplaceable?

In 2020, Sevilla saw Ever Banega bring his second spell at the club to an end. Across his total six years at the club, either side of a single season with Inter, the Argentinian playmaker had been a fundamental part of the team.

A feisty competitor, excellent dribbler and possessor of wonderful vision and passing abilities, Banega's presence meant Sevilla always had a viable creative option in the middle of the pitch, even if using the flanks was a key concept for both Unai Emery and Julen Lopetegui.

Since Banega departed for Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab, Sevilla simply haven't replaced him adequately. Ivan Rakitic, while still capable, isn't the same kind of player; Papu Gomez hasn't had consistency in any one position; and Oliver Torres has been unable to step into his former team-mate's shoes.

 

That creative role in midfield would be considered by most Sevilla fans as the final piece of the puzzle. The other two central positions are filled ably by Joan Jordan, an effective facilitator, and Fernando, who sits deeper to sweep up and help out with Diego Carlos and Kounde, something he's done to great success since joining.

But from a creative standpoint, Sevilla need only glance across town to see what they are missing in that area of the pitch.

Now, of course, the make-up of a midfield can have a major impact on other parts of the team, so were Sevilla to have a more penetrative central trio, there's every reason to suggest they'd not be as solid at the back.

But with Sergio Canales and Nabil Fekir strutting their stuff for Betis, it's difficult to not at least wonder where Sevilla might be with a more positive outlook in midfield.

Sevilla's glaring weakness is Betis' biggest weapon

It cannot be overstated just how good a job Manuel Pellegrini is doing at Betis. Since the end of 2019-20, they have paid a transfer fee for just one player at €3.8million – in the same period, they've lost roughly €60m of talent, yet here they are, looking certainties for a Champions League spot.

Undoubtedly essential to Betis are Canales and Fekir, both of whom were exceptional and scored in the January Copa defeat of Sevilla.

Their influence makes Betis a real danger through the middle of the pitch, an area they are heavily reliant on.

We managed to isolate their key passes that have been played from the central column of the attacking third, and the outcome is impressive.

 

Betis are hugely active in this area, with as many as 36.7 per cent of their key passes being made from the zone in question. Only Real Mallorca (40.2 per cent) are busier here than Betis.

Sevilla, on the other hand, create just 25.2 per cent of their chances from the middle third, which is the lowest proportion of all 20 teams in LaLiga.

In fact, no Sevilla player has managed more than seven key passes in this section of the pitch – four Betis players have more than 10, with Fekir (14), Canales (21) and holding midfielder William Carvalho (12) accounting for 47 between them. That's only 11 fewer than Sevilla's entire squad.

 

Of course, a key element of Sevilla's setup is that they attack from the flanks, but it should be pointed out that Betis' proportion of touches out wide in the attacking half is only 2.2 per cent less, so they cannot be accused of neglecting the wings.

The difference is Sevilla are massively (too?) reliant on attacking from wide positions because they don't possess players with the kind of incisiveness that Betis do in midfield, both in terms of passing and ability on the ball.

 

It all comes back to an inability to replace Banega.

Failure to win at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan on Sunday will surely end Sevilla's title hopes as they would be left nine points adrift of Madrid.

While injuries have many fans pessimistic anyway, few would be surprised if it's in midfield where Sevilla's dreams are crushed.

Barcelona will face Galatasaray in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xavi's side were 4-2 winners on aggregate over Napoli in the round of 32 after dropping into the competition from the Champions League.

They will now meet the Turkish Super Lig giants, with the first leg at Camp Nou to be played on March 10.

Sevilla, winners of a record six trophies, will face David Moyes' West Ham, while rivals Real Betis will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers, who shocked Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, take on Red Star and RB Leipzig will play Spartak Moscow. Spartak's home leg must be played at a neutral venue due to the military invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The first legs will be played on March 10, with the exception of Porto versus Lyon and Betis' game with Frankfurt, which will be held a day earlier. The second legs are a week later.

Europa League last 16:

Rangers v Red Star
Braga v Monaco
Porto v Lyon
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
Sevilla v West Ham
Barcelona v Galatasaray
RB Leipzig v Spartak Moscow
Real Betis v Eintracht Frankfurt

Cristiano Ronaldo ended a run of six matches without scoring in Tuesday's win over Brighton and Hove Albion, but the Manchester United forward's future remains uncertain.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's second spell at Old Trafford has not gone quite to plan and a number of European clubs are said to be circling should he depart.

If reports are accurate, it may well be that a reunion with former boss Jose Mourinho is on the cards for Ronaldo in the coming months.


TOP STORY – ROMA IN FOR RONALDO

Roma are one of three clubs currently in the running to sign Ronaldo should he depart United in the next transfer window, according to The Sun.

Giallorossi boss Mourinho previously managed Ronaldo at Real Madrid and is eager to bolster his squad with a superstar signing.

However, it is not known if the 37-year-old would welcome a return to Serie A, where he previously spent three seasons playing for Juventus ahead of rejoining United.

European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are reported to be the other two sides to have expressed an interest in Ronaldo.


ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea are now solely focused on signing Jules Kounde from Sevilla after being told that top defensive target Marquinhos will not be sold by PSG.

- According to The Sun, Armando Broja's form on loan with Southampton has seen the Chelsea youngster's name added to Bayern and Borussia Dortmund's list of targets.

- Manchester City have bid £5.5million (€6.5m) for Atletico Mineiro's teenage winger Savio, suggests The Guardian, with the intention of then loaning him out to PSV.

- Juan Mata will depart United as a free agent at the end of the campaign, claims Nicolo Schira. The midfielder may look to see out his career in his Spanish homeland.

- Ralf Rangnick is eager for United to bring in Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig, according to ESPN. Madrid, Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal have also been linked.

Barcelona have been working to overcome their financial challenges over the past 12 months.

The Blaugrana have been plotting a way forward with their playing squad.

Barca landed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free transfer in January, as well as a loan move for Adama Traore.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET DE VRIJ

Barcelona are keen on Inter's Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij, reports Fichajes.

De Vrij is contracted with the Nerazzurri until the end of the 2022-23 season, but Barca may view him as Gerard Pique's successor.

Inter are reportedly open to interest from other parties, if the price is right, with the 30-year-old heading towards the final year of his present deal.

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims Paris Saint-Germain are putting together a lucrative deal to lure Paul Pogba to the club from Manchester United as a free agent. Pogba also has interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona, while he may still stay at Old Trafford.

- Newcastle United's efforts to sign Sevilla defender Diego Carlos will continue in the off-season after missing out in January, reports Marca.

- RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku has been added to Manchester United's list of off-season targets, claims ESPN.

- Crystal Palace and Watford are both keen on Liverpool veteran James Milner, according to Fichajes.

Chelsea have been crowned European and world champions since Thomas Tuchel's appointment just over 12 months ago.

The Blues, however, finished fourth in the Premier League last season.

Chelsea are third this term but 16 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, and it seems recruitment is in the offing.

TOP STORY – BLUES SET TO SPLASH THE CASH

Chelsea are set for an off-season transfer splash as they prepare to back Tuchel fresh from their Club World Cup triumph, according to The Telegraph, 

The Blues have their sights firmly set on signing long-term target Jules Kounde from Sevilla as a priority in the upcoming off-season.

Chelsea are also interested in West Ham United's England international Declan Rice and Monaco's 22-year-old French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.


ROUND-UP

- Football London reports Arsenal are plotting a move for Chelsea forward Armando Broja, who is currently on loan at Southampton. The Gunners are short on attacking options after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's exit and with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah running down contracts.

- Fichajes also claims that Arsenal are interested in Milan forward Rafael Leao, along with Newcastle United.

Barcelona are trying to agree new deals with star young pair Gavi and Ronald Araujo amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester United, reports ESPN.

Juventus are willing to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Alex Sandro according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fichajes claims that West Ham want to sign Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan and Real Sociedad centre-back Robin Le Normand.

Anthony Martial revealed that Barcelona and Juventus both attempted to sign him in January, but the forward chose Sevilla as "the best option" for him and his family.

Julen Lopetegui's side brought the France international in on loan until the end of the season after limited opportunities under Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United.

Rangnick confirmed in December that the 26-year-old wanted away from Old Trafford due to a lack of chances – he had played the full 90 minutes of a game only once this season and featured for just eight minutes since the German's first game.

But the destination of Martial's move might have been different, with the former Monaco man revealing both Juve and Barca were interested in his services.

"Juventus tried to sign me," he told Diario de Sevilla in an interview released on Wednesday. 

"I was talking to my agent and told him that I preferred to go to Sevilla. It was the best option for me and my family.

"Barcelona spoke with my agent. But as I said, I spoke to my agent and told him: 'My priority is Sevilla'. And when I say something to someone, I don't change it, I keep my word.

"For me it was the right decision because I knew I was going to play and for me playing was the most important thing. 

"Other big clubs tried to convince me but I preferred to come to Sevilla because I knew that Sevilla was a very good club, a family club. For me it was the right decision."

The Bianconeri subsequently brought in Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in a deal potentially worth €80million, with the Serbia star scoring on his debut against Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Barca managed to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who terminated his contract with Arsenal, and Adama Traore on loan from Wolves to bolster his attacking ranks, which also include Ferran Torres after his arrival at the start of January.

The finances of Martial's loan were not revealed, but he confirmed he agreed to lower wages to secure a move to Spain as he looks to impress France boss Didier Deschamps ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"Both Sevilla and I have made an effort so that I could come," he responded when asked about the finances behind the agreement. 

"I have less salary, but I also know that paying my salary is an effort for the club. So we've both made an effort. But I know that this effort will be good for both parties."

On World Cup selection, he added: "Yes. It is one of my goals. I want to do it because the last time I was not in the World Cup and France won it. So I'll do my best to be there this time."

Martial will be hoping to make an impact on Friday when Sevilla host Elche as Lopetegui's men look to cut the six-point gap on Real Madrid at the summit of the Spanish top flight.

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