Samuel Umtiti has left France's training base and will miss Tuesday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Andorra after suffering a foot injury.

The Barcelona centre-back has endured a difficult couple of years with injuries and is set for another spell on the sidelines with a haematoma in his right foot.

France confirmed prior to Saturday's 4-1 win over Albania that Umtiti was suffering with the injury, ruling him out of the contest.

They announced on Sunday the injury will also prevent him featuring against Andorra, meaning he has returned to Barcelona.

Umtiti lost his place in the Barca starting XI last term during two spells out with knee injuries – France colleague Clement Lenglet taking advantage and becoming Gerard Pique's usual partner.

Although France did not confirm how long they expect Umtiti to be sidelined for, he will likely be a doubt for Barca's visit of Valencia on Saturday.

Starting against Valencia was unlikely anyway, however, given Umtiti has been an unused substitute in Barca's three LaLiga games this season.

Virgil van Dijk is set to remain with Liverpool until the end of 2025.

Netherlands international Van Dijk, 28, headed to Anfield from Southampton for a reported £75million in January 2018, signing a deal until 2023.

But the superstar centre-back is rumoured to be ready to recommit to the reigning European champions.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DIJK AGREES SIX-YEAR LIVERPOOL DEAL

Van Dijk has agreed a new contract with Liverpool, according to the Mirror.

The defender will earn close to £200,000 per week with his new deal, up from his current £125,000 per week wages, the report says.

It comes just a month after Van Dijk lost his title as the world's most expensive defender when Manchester United signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a reported £80m.

ROUND-UP

- David de Gea could be set to leave Manchester United. Coming out of contract at the end of the season, the goalkeeper has told friends he is willing to turn down a deal from the Premier League club, according to The Sun. The Express reports Serie A giants Juventus want to sign De Gea on a free transfer at the end of the season.

- Paulo Dybala almost left Juventus in the close season and the playmaker is set to be at the centre of talk again in January. Paris Saint-Germain want to beat Tottenham to the signing of Dybala when the transfer window reopens, according to the Express.

- Edwin van der Sar could be set for a return to Old Trafford. The Mirror reports the former Netherlands goalkeeper and Ajax chief executive is on Manchester United's list as they search for a director of football.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United's stars are happy Alexis Sanchez has left on loan to Inter, according to The Sun.

- After the emergence of 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati, Barcelona have set up a plan to look after the teenager. Sport reports the LaLiga champions consider Fati a first-team player and want to protect him as he gains plenty of attention.

Former Barcelona and Inter star Samuel Eto'o has seemingly called time on his illustrious career in a message via social media.

Eto'o – a three-time Champions League winner among other honours – last played for Qatari outfit Qatar SC in 2018-19.

And the 38-year-old ex-Cameroon striker appears set for life after football following Friday's Instagram post.

"THE END, TOWARDS A NEW CHALLENGE," Eto'o wrote.

"Thank you all big love... adrenaline."

Eto'o enjoyed a trophy-laden career after emerging from Real Madrid's youth team in 1997 – making three appearances for the Spanish giants.

He won the Champions League twice with Barcelona and again during his time at Inter, where Eto'o was part of the club's 2009-10 treble-winning side.

In total, Eto'o celebrated 15 club titles – including three LaLiga trophies – following spells with Mallorca, Barca, Inter, Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria, Antalyaspor, Konyaspor and Qatar SC.

Eto'o earned 118 caps for Cameroon as he became the country's all-time leading scorer with 56 goals, while winning two African Cup of Nations titles and gold at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Barcelona players have no input into transfers and were not against the signing of Antoine Griezmann, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu. 

Reports in Spain claimed Ernesto Valverde's squad opposed the pursuit of France international Griezmann, who moved to Camp Nou from Atletico Madrid for €120million in July.

The LaLiga champions almost secured his signature 12 months earlier, but the forward ultimately chose to spend a fifth season at Atletico.

That decision was said to have upset Barca's senior players, including Lionel Messi, who reportedly favoured the return of former team-mate Neymar.

"The dressing room did not reject us signing Griezmann," Bartomeu told Barca TV.

"The players don't give their opinions on signings, it is the technical team who decide."

Barca ramped up their interest in Neymar after capturing Griezmann but were unable to come to terms with Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window closed on September 2.

Another target, Matthijs de Ligt, opted to join Juventus, yet Bartomeu insists head coach Valverde has the tools at his disposal to forge a highly successful campaign.

"This squad is more competitive than last season's," he said.

"It's a small squad, but very competitive. Ernesto Valverde accepts the level of demand and I am expecting a lot from this season.

"De Ligt was one of our targets, but he decided not to come to Barca."

Lionel Messi has the option to leave Barcelona for free at the end of the season, but Josep Maria Bartomeu expects the club's talisman to stay.

Messi signed his latest contract in 2017, with the deal running until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

However, reports in newspaper El Pais suggested the 32-year-old would be able to move away from Camp Nou on a free transfer in 2020.

Club president Bartomeu has now confirmed those reports, though he insisted Barcelona are not worried Messi will take up the option to leave, revealing Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Carles Puyol all had similar clauses.

"Messi has a contract that we signed two years ago and it runs for four years," Bartomeu told Barcelona's website.

"Before the last season, 2020-21, he can leave Barcelona, retire from football or play where he likes.

"Iniesta, Xavi and Puyol also had those clauses. For those players and Leo Messi, we don't need to worry.

"I doubt he'd want to play for another club, but he has earned liberty over his future. He's a big Barca fan and I have no doubt he'll want to continue until 2021 and we hope another year too."

Messi sustained an injury during pre-season and is yet to make an appearance this term, with Barcelona having gained just four points from their opening three LaLiga fixtures.

Barcelona halted negotiations over the transfer of Neymar when Paris Saint-Germain altered their demands, according to Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Neymar was heavily linked with a return to Camp Nou throughout the transfer window, with PSG publicly confirming the Brazil star wished to leave Parc des Princes.

But no transfer materialised and Neymar will remain part of Thomas Tuchel's squad, with Barcelona president Bartomeu ruling out a move for the forward in January.

Bartomeu revealed negotiations were extensive, though only because PSG's sporting director Leonardo indicated the Ligue 1 champions would be willing to sell the 27-year-old.

However, Bartomeu has claimed a move for Neymar was never likely to come to fruition once PSG changed their demands.

"In the winter window he's not an option," said Bartomeu in an interview with Barcelona's website. "The planning for next season is done in January, February.

"That will be when we get back to talking about the topic. But [not] if PSG keep asking for such high figures.

"We heard Neymar wanted to leave PSG and there was a moment when Leonardo opened the door to negotiations, for other clubs too.

"But during the negotiations, when the new demands of PSG appeared, we said that they were unassailable. We decided to stop the conversations.

"It's a sporting decision. The technical team said we should try to sign him. He would have been an extra for the squad. We didn't arrive at a deal because we could not match PSG's demands."

Numerous Barcelona players – including Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho – were reportedly considered in a swap deal, but Bartomeu insisted those names were not put forward by his club.

"Barca never put names on the table, they are players that PSG put there," Bartomeu said. "We could not match their demands."

Though Neymar did not arrive, Barca did spend €120million on Antoine Griezmann, while Frenkie de Jong – signed in January from Ajax – completed his €75million move.

Barca have made an indifferent start to their LaLiga campaign, losing to Athletic Bilbao and drawing with Osasuna either side of a 5-2 win over Real Betis.

Gerard Pique has confirmed the existence of a clause in Lionel Messi's contract that enables the Barcelona captain to leave on a free at the end of each season – although it does not worry the defender.

Spanish newspaper El Pais first reported on the presence of a yearly exit option in the lucrative four-year deal the Argentina superstar signed in 2017.

The clause is said to have come into effect when five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi turned 32 in June.

It purportedly grants him the power to become a free agent on June 30 every year, not that centre-back Pique is concerned about losing his long-time team-mate.

"It's something I already knew about," Pique told Cadena SER.

"We know Leo's commitment to Barca and it doesn't worry me at all. He has earned the right to be able to decide his future."

Messi has spent his entire career at Barca and was reportedly at the forefront of the Spanish champions' decision to pursue former player Neymar during the close season.

The Brazil international ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain as the clubs apparently failed to reach an agreement before the transfer window closed on September 2.

Pique spoke to the wantaway Neymar following the deadline and told him not to give up hope on a future return to Camp Nou.

"There has been a lot of drama, but you have to turn the page," the ex-Spain international said.

"The conclusion to be drawn is that perhaps the transfer market lasting until the third week of the league season is nonsense.

"I talked to him and I said I hope he does very well this season and that you never know. Football gives you a chance every year."

Neymar's failed move back to Barcelona will not diminish his importance to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Brazil team-mate Richarlison.

The world's most expensive player attempted to engineer a close-season return to Camp Nou after reportedly growing unhappy in the French capital.

Months of speculation resulted in an anti-climax as the transfer window shut on September 2 with the clubs apparently unable to reach an agreement.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel has not used forward Neymar in any of PSG's matches this term but Richarlison, one of his Selecao understudies, believes the 27-year-old remains valued for club and country.

"Everyone knows his importance, not only here in the national team but for his club," the Everton attacker said.

"And everyone saw his happiness being here in the national team again. So, now we're cheering for him to have a good match tomorrow [against Colombia] and to help us."

Richarlison added: "Neymar is like everyone here. He's happy. Life goes on for him, too, even if it didn't work out for him.

"I don't know what happened at his club. What matters is that he is happy here in the Brazilian national team. And the important thing now is that he helps us."

Brazil are preparing to face Colombia and Peru in a pair of friendlies in the United States, their first matches since winning the Copa America on home soil.

Richarlison, scorer of six international goals in 13 appearances, urged the South American champions to use that triumph as a platform for success on the global stage.

"There is a great atmosphere here in the Brazilian national team," the 22-year-old said.

"We know the weight of the shirt and we have to keep winning titles. It is good to win. And we like to win!

"We are building a victorious group. Now we have to continue. May the Olympic Games and the World Cup come and may we win more titles."

Lionel Messi will get to decide his Barcelona future, regardless of when the star is contracted until.

Messi, 32, re-signed with the LaLiga champions two years ago, extending his contract until 2021.

But such extensions may not matter when it comes to arguably the world's best player.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CAN LEAVE BARCELONA AT THE END OF ANY SEASON

Messi can choose to leave Barcelona at the conclusion of any campaign regardless of his contract, according to El Pais.

The Argentina superstar made his debut for the club in late 2004, and his future is seemingly in his own hands.

It remains to be seen when, or if, Messi decides to depart Camp Nou.

ROUND-UP

- Philippe Coutinho eventually left Barcelona for Bayern Munich on loan, but it could have been different for the playmaker. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola rejected the chance to sign the 27-year-old, according to Marca.

- Left out of Juventus' Champions League squad, Mario Mandzukic is eyeing a January exit, according to Calciomercato.com. The striker was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United during the transfer window.

- Staying in Turin, Juventus could have signed Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng in the close season. Calciomercato.com reports Maurizio Sarri rejected a move for the centre-back.

- Ousmane Dembele was reportedly wanted by Paris Saint-Germain while they were in talks with Barcelona over a move for Neymar. But the attacker refused to leave because he is at his dream club at Barcelona, according to L'Equipe.

- Former Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is reportedly in talks with Monaco, but the 55-time Italy international turned down a move to Scottish giants Rangers, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Left out of the England squad, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is worried he has no international future under Gareth Southgate, the Daily Star reports.

Barcelona's iconic defender Carles Puyol is the toughest opponent Roberto Soldado has gone up against during his time in LaLiga.

Former Valencia and Tottenham striker Soldado sealed a return to Spain's top flight in July, signing with newly promoted Granada following two seasons at Fenerbahce.

Soldado came through the ranks at Real Madrid, spending time at Osasuna and Getafe before excelling for Valencia, later joining Villarreal after a difficult two-season spell at Spurs.

The 34-year-old singled out Barca and Spain great Puyol, who retired in 2014, as the most difficult match-up he has faced – even going so far as to describe their contests as a “war”.

"I would say Puyol is the one who has made me suffer the most," Soldado said, courtesy of LaLiga.

"I think it was like war with Puyol. He was the most aggressive defender there was, the most heavy-handed.

"Then he was the one who complained the most. But, yes, there was a nice rivalry there and maybe he's the one who has given me the toughest battles."

Though Soldado struggled to find form at Tottenham, scoring just seven Premier League goals for the capital club, he believes his time in the England was crucial in making him a more rounded forward.

"With the passing of the years, my spell in England changed the way I played," Soldado said.

"Before maybe I was a player who waited a lot in the box, who didn't get involved so much and now maybe, after going to England, you change that a little.

"I got more involved. But I know [Granada] have signed me to score goals and I'm going to do everything I can to score as many as possible.

"I'm delighted to be back in the best league, especially after two years in an inferior league to this one.

"The first two weeks I was here I did find it a little hard to keep up with the pace of training. The pace of training is higher here than in Turkey. But I think I've adapted well, I think I'm going to perform at a high level and I'm going to give everything I've got for my team."

Soldado also revealed some strict pre-match superstitions.

"I always start to get change with my right side, I step onto the pitch with my right foot, I jump twice before going on," he said.

"They're habits or obsessions that make you feel confident when you do them, even if they don't make a difference."

Virgil van Dijk backed Netherlands team-mate Matthijs de Ligt to be unaffected by a shaky Serie A debut for Juventus.

Former Ajax defender De Ligt received criticism for his performance in Juve's dramatic 4-3 victory over Napoli on Saturday.

The 20-year-old played alongside Leonardo Bonucci due to Giorgio Chiellini's anterior cruciate ligament injury but struggled to cope with Napoli's rampant attack in the second half and was partly at fault for all three goals Juve conceded.

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman has defended the €75million centre-back, however, and Liverpool star Van Dijk echoed those sentiments.

"I saw Matthijs arrive very normally. Nothing was wrong," UEFA Men's Player of the Year Van Dijk told a news conference ahead of Netherlands' Euro 2020 qualifier with Germany.

"Everybody that knows him also knows that he always stays calm in these kind of situations.

"Of course, I spoke to him. But we don't need to tell each other a lot. I think it's also something you only talk about when you see each other for the first time again.

"After that, the focus is on the future and the match in front of us as a pairing. So that's what we did."

De Ligt's former club-mate Frenkie de Jong also switched to a European heavyweight in the off season by joining LaLiga champions Barcelona, though the midfielder has been used in a slightly different role to the one he played for Ajax and typically occupies for the Netherlands.

"No, not at all. Those guys are amazing, they know that and we do too," Van Dijk said when asked if extra work was required to accommodate the duo in Netherlands' system.

"I think they will show why they are so important to us once again."

Koeman, meanwhile, refuted the suggestion Netherlands will be feeling extra pressure following their 3-2 home defeat to Germany in March.

"There's always pressure on us. Especially now against Germany," Koeman said. "From the outside, it may seem as though we have some pressure on our shoulders, because of our most recent meeting.

"We still have some spare games. I believe we can take a big leap with a good result against Germany tomorrow. In that case, the rest of the qualification will be a bit easier. If not, reaching the Euros should still be our main target, of course."

Neymar will retire at Paris Saint-Germain unless his salary and asking price are lowered, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

The Brazil forward was strongly linked with a return to LaLiga before the closure of the transfer window on Monday, with both former club Barcelona and Real Madrid said to be interested.

Tebas, though, reiterated his previous stance that the 27-year-old's return to LaLiga is not required for Spanish football and talked down the chances of Neymar finding a new club if his wage demands remain the same.

"It is always important to have good assets to increase [LaLiga's] value, but he is not essential," Tebas said at the Soccerex Europe congress in Lisbon.

"If Neymar comes, good. If Neymar doesn't come, I don't see it as essential, because we continue to grow."

Barca were reportedly unwilling to meet the Ligue 1 champions' valuation for Neymar, who made the switch two years ago in a record €222million deal and has three years to run on his PSG contract.

"The problem of not coming back now [to Barcelona] has to do with his own departure for PSG," Tebas said. "It was an off-market transfer, it was only possible to happen with 'traps' to increase sponsorships. 

"When you do it out of the market, it is impossible to sell again at this price. In view of the market, Neymar will retire at PSG unless he lowers his salary and also his PSG claims."

Neymar has not featured for PSG since May due to injury concerns and doubts over his future.

Premier League clubs boast the most players on the 55-man shortlist for the FIFA FIFPro World 11 for the first time in a decade.

LaLiga, with 20 representatives, has been displaced after nine successive years as the best represented competition, with clubs in England's top flight contributing 21 nominees.

Manchester City lead the Premier League with eight players in contention for a spot, including five first-time nominees: Ederson, Raheem Sterling, Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo.

The club's captain, David Silva, misses out, but Sergio Aguero is back in the mix after being overlooked for the past two years.

European champions Liverpool are next best in England with seven but neither club boast as many as Real Madrid (nine) or Barcelona (11).

New signings Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann boost Barca's representation following a season in which the Spanish side made a stunning Champions League exit at the hands of the Reds.

More than 23,000 professional footballers voted on the list, which predictably includes names like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

Thibaut Courtois, Philippe Coutinho, Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku are among the notable omissions.

The 2019 FIFA FIFPro World 11 will be revealed at The Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan on September 23.

Barcelona should view their failure to seal a deal for Neymar as a blessing in disguise, according to Vicente del Bosque.

The LaLiga champions were unable to reach an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain prior to Monday's transfer deadline.

Brazil international Neymar, who is said to be unhappy in France, could still return to Camp Nou in future, while Real Madrid reportedly remain interested.

But former Madrid and Spain boss Del Bosque believes the talented 27-year-old represents more trouble than he is worth.

"It would have been good for the Spanish league for him to return but if I was involved with a club, I wouldn't have signed him," Del Bosque told RTVE programme Estudio Estadio.

"He is a great player, but there are other things I don't like. He did not behave well at Barcelona. He behaved badly, or very badly.

"If you did a survey in Barcelona, there would surely be more than 50 per cent who would be reluctant to have him back."

Another of the close season's transfer sagas took place over at Del Bosque's former employers Madrid as Zinedine Zidane unsuccessfully attempted to remove Gareth Bale from his squad.

The Wales international appeared destined for the Chinese Super League until Madrid's board blocked his departure.

Bale has since returned to favour, starting each of the club's three LaLiga matches this term, and Del Bosque thinks the four-time Champions League winner will prove useful to Zidane.

"No one thought his behaviour was bad, just that he did not adapt to Madrid. Very few people doubted his qualities," the retired World Cup winner said.

"I think he will perform for them because he is a very good player."

The transfer window may be closed but the rumours do not stop!

Christian Eriksen was unable to secure a move away from Tottenham prior to Monday's deadline.

Since then, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Inter have been linked to the Spurs star.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO PREPARING JANUARY MOVE FOR ERIKSEN

Atletico Madrid are set to return for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, according to AS.

Eriksen was linked to the likes of Atletico, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United but a move did not materialise.

Now, Atletico, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation as Eriksen prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Mirror, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is set to be offered a chance to move to the Premier League. The Croatian veteran was linked to Manchester United but a move failed to transpire prior to the transfer window closing.

- LaLiga pair Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao are keeping tabs on Chelsea and Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, reports the Mirror. It comes amid concerns the Spaniard could lose his spot in the Chelsea XI to Reece James.

- Brazilian side Flamengo are interested in signing free agent Claudio Marchisio, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Juventus star Marchisio is without a club since leaving Zenit. Flamengo were also close to luring Mario Balotelli before he opted for Brescia.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new defender in January. The report comes after Aymeric Laporte's knee injury left City with just two fit centre-backs – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to TNT Sports. The expansion franchise – who are backed by the former Manchester United star and will enter MLS in 2020 – have also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

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