Barcelona coach Xavi reached 100 league games in charge of the club with a 2-0 win over Almeria, and although being on the verge of a second-place finish in LaLiga, he made it clear that he wants to win championships.

Xavi, who last month reversed his decision to leave the club at the end of the season, said he is concentrating on the future with changes already in mind for the club.

"I have every ambition to win titles. The economic situation is not the best and we are working to reverse it. We are planning the next season and I see it as an opportunity," Xavi told a press conference.

"We are getting the games ready to play the Super Cup next year. I really want Barca to win titles again.

"This year we haven't competed well enough to win them, but we've come close. I'm eager, excited and ambitious."

Xavi spent 17 years at Barcelona, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions Leagues and eight LaLiga titles.

Despite being a club great and winning LaLiga last year as coach, he has come under pressure this season after failing to catch Real Madrid, who have already secured the title, and losing to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals.

There are also the challenges of a bloated wage bill and a 1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) renovation project at the Camp Nou stadium.

But Xavi is clear that the club will fight to change.

"It's not an easy or pleasant situation. We want to win titles and we haven't done our homework, but we have a very good squad and I am happy with the level of ambition of the players," he added.

"We tell the players the importance of finishing second, but I want to compete and fight for titles."

Fermin Lopez's brace sealed a 2-0 win over bottom side Almeria on Thursday, with Barca now four points clear of Girona in third, with two games to play.

"I'm happy to help the team with goals and for the win, which we needed. We're going to fight for second place until the end and we're on the right track," said Fermin.

Liverpool have confirmed the impending departure of long-serving defender Joel Matip.

The centre-back joined Liverpool as one of Jurgen Klopp's first signings back in 2016, and over an eight-year spell, has played a key role in the Reds' success.

Matip, 32, is out of contract at the end of the season, having not featured since December due to a serious knee injury.

On Friday, the club confirmed the former Schalke defender would be following Klopp in leaving Anfield.

Speaking to Liverpool's official club channels, Matip said: "It has been eight wonderful years here in Liverpool.

"I was allowed to be part of an exciting history with a great coach and an astonishing team in an extraordinary club. We have achieved great titles and have the best fans in the world.

"I am full of gratitude for the wonderful time I was able to experience with these unique people supporting the club and the fans who love Liverpool.

"My wife and I have felt welcomed and supported from day one and together with the kids we had the best imaginable time here. We will always keep it in special memories."

Klopp added: "In all the years that I have been involved in football, I am not sure I have come across too many players who are more loved than Joel.

"I'm not even sure it would be possible to say anything bad about him."

Injuries have curtailed Matip's recent seasons, with the former Cameroon international managing just 24 Premier League appearances across the last two campaigns.

He leaves Liverpool having won one league title, the Champions League, the FA Cup, EFL Cup, Community Shield and Super Cup.

Matip will get the chance to say goodbye to the Anfield faithful when Liverpool face Wolves in Klopp's final game on Sunday.

Gary Smith has left Nashville SC, with the team confirming they have parted company with their long-serving head coach.

Nashville beat Toronto FC on Wednesday, moving up to 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Yet on Thursday, the team confirmed they had decided to part ways with Smith, who had been in charge for seven seasons.

Smith won 52 MLS games during his spell in charge, while also leading Nashville to the Leagues Cup final in 2023.

Nashville face Atlanta United on Saturday, with ex-player and now player development coach Rumba Munthali stepping in as interim head coach.

No reason was provided for Smith's departure. He has been joined in leaving the club by assistant coach Steve Guppy.

A Nashville statement read: "Nashville SC extends its gratitude to Smith and Guppy for their dedication and contributions to our team and wishes them and their families all the best in their future endeavours.

"Under Smith's leadership, Nashville SC emerged as a very organised and hard-to-beat team in both leagues.

"In the USL Championship, Smith guided the team to a 32-win record over two seasons, including two playoff appearances and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2019.

"His transition to MLS with the club was seamless, leading Nashville to four consecutive MLS Cup playoff appearances, a feat only achieved by two other teams in the league's history."


Nashville SC - Hany Mukhtar

Mukhtar has scored five goals in nine career regular-season matches against Atlanta. Only Luciano Acosta (nine goals in 17 games) has scored more times against the Five Stripes.

Atlanta United - Thiago Almada

Almada has scored in all three of his career MLS matches against Nashville. No player has ever scored in four consecutive regular-season meetings versus Nashville, though Daryl Dike did score in four straight for Orlando City, including playoff games.


Despite Smith's departure, Opta's model still predicts a positive outcome for Nashville.

Atlanta are winless in 11 straight MLS away matches (D5 L6 incl. playoffs) dating back to last September. It is the longest active road winless run in MLS.

Nashville have won two straight home matches, their first regular-season home winning streak since a run of six straight last April-July. They managed just two wins in 12 home league games between the two streaks (D6 L4).

Atlanta's 4-0 home win over Nashville last August ended a seven-match winless run for them in the series (D3 L4). Atlanta won their first visit to Nashville, 2-1, in the latter's inaugural match in March 2020, but the Five Stripes are winless in five visits in all competitions since (D2 L3).


Nashville SC - 46.2%

Atlanta United - 25.5%

Draw - 28.3%

Despite watching his side beat Atlanta United in midweek, FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan still wants more from his side when they host St. Louis City this weekend.

Kevin Kelsy's seventh-minute strike was enough to earn Cincinnati a 1-0 win over Atlanta to make it five straight MLS victories.

Cincinnati currently sit second in the Eastern Conference, but Noonan is still demanding more from his side than Wednesday's performance.

"I wouldn't say 'negatives' but [there are] things we could have done better, and here we are with the guys keeping a clean sheet and winning the game," Noonan told reporters.

"They deserve credit and to be proud of the fact that they're still walking off the field with a win tonight."

St. Louis saw a five-game unbeaten streak end as they lost 2-0 to Los Angeles FC in midweek.

The defeat leaves St. Louis ninth in the Western Conference, though they are just three points off sixth-placed Austin FC.

Bradley Carnell is looking to get players back fit and raring to go for the visit to Cincinnati at the weekend, saying: "It's about how we manage over the next couple of days to get a solid, fit line-up for Cincinnati.

"We don't have much time to sit and dwell, and we have to be brave and positive to head to Cincinnati."


FC Cincinnati – Kevin Kelsy

In his first MLS start, Kelsy scored Cincinnati's lone goal on Wednesday. The 19-year-old has scored in consecutive games, making him the first teenager to score multiple MLS goals for Cincinnati, and if he gets the nod from the off again here, he will once more hope to mark it with a goal.

St. Louis City – Joao Klauss

Having netted four in his previous four games, Klauss drew a blank against LAFC as St. Louis slumped to defeat. He is clearly a key man in St. Louis' attack, and he will hope to get back among the goals this weekend, and with a win too.


St. Louis beat Cincinnati 5-1 in the lone previous meeting between the sides last April. The four-goal margin is Cincinnati’s largest defeat since the start of last season and equals St. Louis' largest ever margin of victory.

But St. Louis are winless in eight straight away matches in all competitions (four draws, four defeats). St. Louis have won three of their last 23 on the road after winning the first three away matches in club history.

Cincinnati have won five straight regular season matches with all five wins coming by one-goal margins, the first team to do so since the Red Bulls in 2012, and though it may be a tight game again this weekend, the hosts will fancy their chances of coming out on the right side of the result and collecting another three points.


Cincinnati: 44.3%

St. Louis: 28.2%

Draw: 27.5%

Gerardo Martino is expecting Lionel Messi to play for Inter Miami at home to D.C. United this weekend, though he emphasised he would not take "any risks".

Messi was absent as Miami were held to a 0-0 draw away at Orlando City last time out with what Martino described as a "bit of a niggle".

The goalless draw, combined with FC Cincinnati's win over Atlanta United, means Miami's lead at the top of the Eastern Conference has been closed to just a point ahead of this weekend's fixtures.

As Miami look to get back to winning ways this weekend, Martino believes Messi will be able to return, though he will not rush the former Barcelona man back onto the field.

"The fact is that he felt some pain in his movements and, given that we're on a run of three games in the space of a week, we felt the most sensible thing to do was leave him out of today's game," Martino told reporters.

"The plan is that he'll play on Saturday, but it’s going to depend on how he progresses. We’re not going to take any risks, and on Thursday and Friday we'll assess his fitness."

D.C. were handed a first loss in four as they were thumped 4-1 by the New York Red Bulls in midweek, but head coach Troy Lesesne believes the defeat does not cancel out the previous solid form displayed by his side.

"For the last three weeks, we can feel good about our performance, and tonight doesn’t just erase all that," Lesesne said.

“We're building still. We can recognise tonight was a setback.”


Inter Miami – Luis Suarez

With Messi absent against Orlando, Suarez couldn't make it four straight games with a goal as he drew a blank. With Messi potentially missing again on Saturday, Suarez will be keen to get back among the goals to help his team to victory.

D.C. United – Christian Benteke

Benteke was held scoreless against the Red Bulls despite taking six shots in the match. It was Benteke’s third MLS match this season with at least six shots with all other D.C. players having combined to do that once in league play in 2024 (Gabriel Pirani). The former Liverpool man certainly isn't afraid of pulling the trigger, though he will be hoping this time to find the back of the net with one or more of his efforts at goal.


D.C. are unbeaten in three all-time matches at Miami. D.C. are the only opponent that have visited Miami more than once in regular season play and never lost.

Miami’s five-game winning streak ended Wednesday with a 0-0 draw with Orlando. Miami had exactly seven shots for the second straight match, the club’s first time having consecutive MLS matches with single-digit shots since May-June 2023.

In Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Red Bulls, D.C. attempted 22 shots while allowing 11. The plus-11 shot differential was United’s highest in a loss by three or more goals since a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in April 2013 (+14).

In 2024, Miami have one win in their five MLS matches (two draws, two defeats) without Messi and seven victories in their nine games with him. The team’s goals per game average in MLS matches this season is 3.2 with Messi, and 1.2 without him.

Messi is clearly Miami's star man, then, and with him looking likely to feature this weekend, the hosts will be the favourites to return to winning ways at the top of the Eastern Conference.


Inter Miami - 50.8%

D.C United - 22.9%

Draw - 26.3%

Barcelona remained on track to finish second in LaLiga after Fermin Lopez's brace sealed a 2-0 win over bottom side Almeria on Thursday.

Fermin gave Barca an early lead in the 14th minute when he headed past goalkeeper Luis Maximiano from Hector Fort's accurate cross.

Despite efforts from Cesar Montes and Lucas Robertone, Almeria were unable to find an equaliser.

Fermin netted his second from Sergi Roberto's cross to wrap up the win for Barca in the 67th minute.

Xavi's side are on 79 points, four clear of Catalan rivals Girona, whose hopes of finishing second are fading fast after Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Villarreal.

Real Madrid, who have already clinched the title, continue to pull away from Barca after a 5-0 win over Alaves on Tuesday.

Data Debrief: Holding the Fort

Fort provided the assist for Barca's opener, his second assist of the campaign in LaLiga.

Three players aged under 20 have provided an assist in LaLiga for the Blaugrana this term – Lamine Yamal (four), Fort (two) and Gavi (one). That is not a statistic matched by any other team in Europe's top five leagues.

Dean Smith is looking for his Charlotte FC side to build upon their 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire when they host the LA Galaxy this weekend.

Charlotte made it three wins in a row as they narrowly beat the Fire during midweek thanks to Ashley Westwood's 60th-minute winner.

The three-match win streak has taken Charlotte all the way up to fifth in the Eastern Conference, and though Smith was not enthralled by the manner of the victory over Chicago, he appreciated his side's mindset.

"I saw the mentality, but I didn’t see a game of football that I liked. It certainly won’t make the highlight reel," Smith told reporters.

"It wasn't a thriller of any sort. It was an untidy game from both teams but we showed real good mentality to limit them to few chances, and we took the one we had from a set piece."

The Galaxy, meanwhile, drew 2-2 at Minnesota United on Wednesday, leaving them fifth in the Western Conference and four points off leaders Real Salt Lake.

Minnesota equalised with just 10 minutes to play, but Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney still thought it was a solid point for his side.

"We've got to try to take this point and start to heal and start to recover and move on to the next one," Vanney said.

"[It is a] good, hard-earned point at the end of the day even though there was a chance for us to get three there at the tail end."


Charlotte FC – Ashley Westwood

Westwood scored the lone goal in Charlotte’s win over Chicago on Wednesday at the hour mark. Nine of Charlotte's 11 goals since March 23 have been scored after half-time, and Westwood will be hoping to spur his side on once more this Saturday by finding the net again.

LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

Puig assisted both of the Galaxy's goals against Minnesota on Wednesday after also recording assists on both Galaxy goals on Saturday against Salt Lake. Puig is the first Galaxy player to record multiple assists in consecutive matches since Romain Alessandrini in 2018, and he will hope to make it three such games in a row this weekend.


Charlotte and the Galaxy have each recorded a 1-0 away win against the other. Both goals were scored after the 70th minute.

The Galaxy have drawn each of their last three matches with the last two ending 2-2. In their last 22 matches, the Galaxy have scored two or more goals 15 times and allowed two or more goals 17 times.

Charlotte have won three straight matches, keeping clean sheets in all three. This is the first time Charlotte have kept clean sheets in three straight matches in club history, and with home advantage this weekend, they look the favourites to pick up the three points on Saturday.


Charlotte: 47.3%

Galaxy: 25.8%

Draw: 26.9%

Jurgen Klopp has joked he doesn't like James Maddison after the midfielder's failure to block Vincent Kompany's long-range winner in the 2018-19 season.

With the title race that campaign nearing its conclusion, Manchester City and Liverpool were going toe-to-toe at the Premier League summit.

City faced Leicester City in their penultimate game, and with the contest 0-0 with 20 minutes left, the ball sat up for Kompany to shoot from range with Maddison in the vicinity.

Maddison failed to block the effort, and Kompany's drive flew into the top corner before City ultimately went on to claim the title.

Klopp has joked that he now feels differently about Maddison following that incident, telling The Redmen TV: "The moment when Vinny Kompany fires the ball, I'm really happy I didn't get a stroke because that's how it must feel.

"I was watching thinking, 'Maddison, block him, close him down!'

"And since then, I don't like Maddison! I was also angry with Brendan [Rodgers, then Leicester manager] that day, because he should have taken him off, he was tired.

"It's a personal thing. Of course, I have no problem."

Leeds United thumped Norwich City 4-0 in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final to seal their place at Wembley.

After a goalless draw in the first leg left it all to play for at Elland Road on Thursday, Leeds turned on the style in front of a raucous home crowd to cruise into the final on May 26.

Ilia Gruev settled the majority of Elland Road's nerves with just seven minutes played as he caught out Angus Gunn with a long-range free-kick, curling into the space vacated by the Norwich goalkeeper's expectation of a cross.

Joel Piroe then doubled the hosts' advantage 13 minutes later, again capitalising on poor goalkeeping to beat Gunn to Wilfried Gnonto's cross and nod home.

The tie was effectively over five minutes from half-time, Georginio Rutter getting on the end of Crysencio Summerville's squared pass to rifle off the underside of the crossbar and in.

And after Gunn spilled Gnonto's low shot in the second half, Rutter cut the ball back for Summerville to poke home and secure Leeds' place in next Sunday's final, where they will meet either Southampton or West Brom.

Data debrief

Leeds may have looked pretty blunt in attack at Carrow Road, but that was far from the case on home soil as they put the Canaries to the sword in brutal fashion while keeping a 21st Championship clean sheet this season, more than any other side.

Daniel Farke's men produced 2.45 xG (expected goals) to Norwich's 0.51, while Summerville made it 20 league goals for the season, more than any other Leeds player.

Lianne Sanderson believes Chelsea will get over the line in the Women's Super League (WSL) title race this weekend.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes previously declared the WSL title race as "done" following her side's 4-3 defeat to Liverpool in early May, but two wins since and a loss for title rivals Manchester CIty against Arsenal mean her team head into the final game top and with a superior goal difference.

Chelsea's goal difference of +47 to City's +45 could prove crucial as Hayes' side take on Manchester United this weekend looking to clinch the title.

City, meanwhile, travel to take on Aston Villa looking to overturn the goal difference deficit, but Sanderson feels Chelsea will get the job done.

"Obviously it's great for the neutral. For the fans, it's fantastic," Sanderson told Stats Perform.

"I think Emma Hayes obviously kind of somewhat accepted defeat a couple of weeks ago, which was surprising. Sometimes your emotions get the better of you. Emma Hayes is one of the best coaches in the world.

"Manchester City have had the best year I think they've had since Gareth Taylor has been there, taking over from Nick Cushing.

"It's going to go down to the wire. Personally, I still think Chelsea might do it."

With Sanderson predicting City to miss out on the WSL title, Sanderson feels Taylor's job should have come under more threat than it has.

"I've said many times that Gareth Taylor, I think hasn't come under as much pressure as he probably should have," Sanderson said. 

"I think if he was in the men's game it would have been interesting because they've not qualified for the Champions League, they've been knocked out of preliminary rounds and those types of things."

However, Sanderson also gave Taylor credit for his persistence in what has occasionally been a challenging tenure.

"It's been interesting, but fair play to Gareth Taylor because he's persevered," Sanderson added. 

"They've had loads of players over the years, you know Carli Lloyd, Rose Lavelle, the list could go on and it just hasn't really worked out, not due to those players, but sometimes you must find the right balance. I think finally, they found the right balance."

Joshua Zirkzee was a surprise omission from Ronald Koeman's Netherlands squad for Euro 2024, as Frenkie de Jong made the selection.

A 30-man preliminary squad was confirmed on Thursday, with that pool to be whittled down to 26 for the tournament, which starts on June 14.

The Netherlands have been drawn against France, Austria and Poland in Group D, and Koeman somewhat surprisingly did not include in-form Bologna attacker Zirkzee, who has scored 12 goals this season, propelling his side towards Champions League qualification.

Koeman has preferred to go with the experienced Wout Weghorst, along with Memphis Depay and Brian Brobbey.

De Jong, though, did make the cut despite having not played for Barcelona in close to a month due to an ankle issue.

Ryan Gravenberch has earned a recall after a year away, and he is joined by Liverpool team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo.

Micky van de Ven, who has impressed for Tottenham this season, has also been selected, as has wing-back Jeremie Frimpong, who has been in sensational form for Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen. Arsenal's Jurrien Timber, who sustained a serious injury in August, does not feature.

Georginio Wijnaldum, the former Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder who now plays in Saudi Arabia, has been included.

Koeman will confirm his 26-man squad by the end of May.

Netherlands squad

Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Mark Flekken (Brentford), Bart Verbruggen (Brighton & Hove Albion), Nick Olij (Sparta Rotterdam); Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Girona), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Ian Maatsen (Borussia Dortmund), Micky van de Ven (Tottenham Hotspur), Stefan de Vrij (Inter); Ryan Gravenberch (Liverpool), Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Tijjani Reijnders (Milan), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Jerdy Schouten (PSV), Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig), Quinten Timber (Feyenoord), Joey Veerman (PSV Eindhoven), Georginio Wijnaldum (Al Ettifaq); Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Brian Brobbey (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Atletico Madrid), Cody Gakpo (Liverpool), Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund), Wout Weghorst (Hoffenheim).

N'Golo Kante has been named as a surprise inclusion in France's squad for Euro 2024.

Kante has not played for Les Bleus since 2022, but despite the long exodus from the squad, the Al Ittihad midfielder has been named in head coach Didier Deschamps' 26-man squad for the upcoming tournament in Germany.

The squad is headlined by Kylian Mbappe, who has plied his trade for Paris Saint-Germain since 2017 but looks set to move to Real Madrid in the upcoming window. Mbappe's PSG team-mate Bradley Barcola makes the squad for the first time.

Also making the journey to Germany will be Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and William Saliba, though Bayern Munich's Lucas Hernandez misses out through injury.

Among the notable exclusions are Chelsea's Christopher Nkunku and Crystal Palace's Michael Olise, who both miss out despite recently returning to fitness in the Premier League.

France will play two warm-up friendlies against Luxembourg and then Canada, before they kick off their Euro 2024 campaign against Austria on June 17. France will also face the Netherlands and Poland in the group stage as they look to reclaim the European Championships crown they lost to Italy in the 2020 edition.

France squad

Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Mike Maignan (Milan), Brice Samba (Lens); Jonathan Clauss (Marseille), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Madrid), Benjamin Pavard (Inter), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich); Eduardo Camavinga (Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico), N'Golo Kante (Al Ittihad), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Madrid), Warren Zaire-Emery (Paris Saint-Germain); Bradley Barcola (Paris Saint-Germain), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud (Milan), Randal Kolo Muani (Paris Saint-Germain), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Thuram (Inter).

Napoli's Serie A title defence has long since ended, and they must beat Fiorentina on Friday to have any hope of playing in Europe next season.

Napoli strolled to the Scudetto last year, clinching the title with five games to spare and finishing 16 points ahead of runners-up Lazio.

This time around, it was Inter who wrapped up the league with five games remaining, while Napoli sit ninth in the standings, 41 points adrift of the leaders with a Europa Conference League spot their only hope of playing in Europe.

Napoli are without a win in their last five games, though even if they can get back to winning ways, their European hopes would be out of their own hands due to having played a game more than Fiorentina.

Fiorentina have won three of their last five league matches, and won the previous meeting between the sides 3-1, which could prove vital they end the season level on points and the head-to-head record comes into play.

Vincenzo Italiano's side have already qualified for this season's Europa Conference League final, where they face Greek side Olympiacos in Athens. 

The Viola, unbeaten in Europe this season, are aiming to end the league campaign on a high and take that momentum into the final - they are looking to go one better than last year when they lost to West Ham in the final.

Napoli are likely to be without top scorer Victor Osimhen, who is a serious doubt due to a muscular problem. Fiorentina, meanwhile, welcome back Andre Belotti who missed Monday's win over Monza.

A reset of the culture as well as objectives of the Jamaica Senior Women’s National Team or “Reggae Girlz” is of paramount importance to returning Head coach Hubert Busby Jr.

Busby Jr was rehired last week after previously serving in the role in 2021 and won’t have a lot of time to settle back into the role as his first assignment will be to navigate a pair of international friendlies with global football powerhouses Brazil on June 1 and 4.

The two teams last met at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup where a 0-0 draw secured the Reggae Girlz spot as the first Caribbean nation to ever advance from the group stage at a World Cup.

The squad for these two friendlies can be looked at as a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, 18 of the members of the squad were in that history-making World Cup squad but, on the other hand, they haven’t played together since that tournament which was nine months ago.

“I think coming back in with two weeks to go, there is a lot of work to do in a short period of time and the idea that the core of this particular group hasn’t been together in nine months so there’s a lot of work that we’re doing now behind the scenes to get up to speed in terms of watching Brazil and getting the players organized,” he said in an interview with JFFLive on Wednesday.

Busby Jr then went into detail on two of his major objectives in his second stint as Head coach of the Reggae Girlz.

“More importantly, I think, some of the objectives for us is to reset the culture, reset the objectives in terms of what we’re looking to do and understand, I know it’s the most used cliché in sports, but whatever we do, we really have to stick to a process of how we look to get back to the next World Cup in 2027,” explained Busby Jr.

“This is just the first part in utilizing each and every window, making sure that, regardless of the results, we are hitting our targets of what we want to accomplish heading into the World Cup Qualifiers,” he added.

Brazil will be using these friendlies as preparation for the Olympic Games where they won consecutive silver medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

These two friendlies will also be the last home international appearances for perhaps the greatest female footballer ever, Marta, who has announced that she will retire after the Paris Games.

“This is going to be a little bit of a send-off match for them. It will also be Marta’s last game in Brazil in front of her home crowd before she retires and there’s a little bit of a revenge factor from what happened at the World Cup so we’ve got to manage all of that,” Busby Jr said.

“We’re going to have these three training sessions and prepare the team for these matches,” he ended.


Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson will miss the final two games of the season due to a fractured eye socket.

The Citizens face West Ham on Sunday as they aim to win a fourth consecutive Premier League title, before taking on rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final on May 25.

The goalkeeper was involved in a heavy collision with Cristian Romero in their 2-0 win over Tottenham on Tuesday, with the goalkeeper initially allowed to continue after receiving treatment before being replaced by Stefan Ortega.

City revealed Ederson has since undergone scans which revealed a small fracture to the right eye socket, forcing him out of their last two games of the season.

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