Albert Celades admitted he faces a complicated situation at "a difficult club" after being appointed head coach of Valencia just hours after the sacking of Marcelino.

The decision to dismiss Marcelino came as a shock to supporters still celebrating their side's Copa del Rey triumph and their fourth-place finish in LaLiga last season, which saw them qualify for the Champions League.

Former Spain Under-21 and Real Madrid assistant coach Celades has no experience taking charge of a first team at club level and in a news conference he said he had travelled to Singapore to meet with Valencia owner Peter Lim before Marcelino's departure was announced.

However, he insisted he would aim to build on the foundations laid by Marcelino, saying: "Regardless of the situation, Valencia is always a difficult club.

"It is a great club, a giant, and we will try to contribute in the best way. It has all been very fast.

"We are aware of the work that Marcelino has done during these two seasons. He has done very good things. We want to continue feeding that good work."

Celades moved to quash fears that his arrival might reverse the progress Valencia have made under Marcelino, who endeared himself to supporters during a successful two-year spell at Mestalla.

Valencia finished 12th in LaLiga in 2016-17, but Marcelino's arrival in July 2017 preceded back-to-back fourth-place finishes.

Celades, whose first game in charge sees them visit champions Barcelona on Saturday, said: "This team has many good things that have helped it to achieve its goals. We are not going to break what is there and think that everything is wrong.

"We have a lot of respect for and a very good opinion of the previous coach. We will try to encourage good things to keep them happening. Little by little, we will be adding new things.

"Here there is always pressure. I have been hired to do a job and I will try to do it in the best possible way."

Albert Celades has been confirmed as the new head coach of Valencia.

Marcelino was sacked by the LaLiga club on Wednesday after three games of the new season, which has seen them take four points.

The 54-year-old was dismissed following a reported falling out with club owner Peter Lim despite leading Valencia to Champions League qualification last term.

Valencia get their Group H campaign up and running away to Europa League winners Chelsea next week and Celades will be the man in charge.

A former Spain Under-21 coach who acted as assistant to Fernando Hierro at last year's World Cup, Celades has signed a two-year deal.

The 43-year-old also worked as assistant to Julen Lopetegui during his short spell at Real Madrid, but this will be his first job as a first-team coach.

Celades will lead Valencia for the first time when they travel to LaLiga champions Barcelona on Saturday.

The future of Valencia general manager Mateu Alemany is reportedly under threat but the club have given no indication over whether or not he will continue.

Luis Suarez returned to first-team training at Barcelona on Wednesday to give head coach Ernesto Valverde hope that he could feature against Valencia on Saturday and lessen the need to rush Lionel Messi back from injury.

Suarez is nearing full fitness again after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in Barcelona's defeat to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the new LaLiga season.

After missing Barca's subsequent 5-2 win over Real Betis and their 2-2 draw at Osasuna, the Uruguay international trained with the team in the build-up to Valencia's visit to Camp Nou to provide Valverde with a welcome boost to his attacking options.

Messi, meanwhile, had been expected to make his first appearance of the season against Valencia after recovering from a calf injury but Valverde may opt not to risk the 32-year-old if Suarez is available.

The muscle strain sustained on the first day of pre-season training has kept Messi out of Valverde's matchday squads since then, but the Barcelona coach said he hoped to have him back in time to face Valencia.

However, the Spanish champions face a trip to Germany three days after the Valencia game to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and Valverde may give Messi extra rest as he completes his recovery.

Marcelino has been sacked as Valencia head coach just three matches into the new LaLiga season.

The 54-year-old was dismissed on Wednesday following a reported falling out with club owner Peter Lim.

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Albert Celades, who was an assistant coach to Julen Lopetegui at the Santiago Bernabeu last year, has been tipped to take over at Mestalla.

Marcelino was appointed as Valencia boss in May 2017 and led them to a fourth-place finish.

His position came under threat 12 months ago during a difficult start to 2018-19, but the club kept faith in the former Villarreal boss and were rewarded when they ended the season by winning the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and clinching a Champions League spot.

Valencia have taken four points from three games this term but it was reported in Spain that Lim called club president Anil Murthy for an emergency meeting in Singapore on Wednesday after deciding to sack Marcelino.

A brief statement from Valencia confirming the news said: "The club wants to thank [Marcelino] for your work and dedication during your time in here and wish you the greatest success for the future."

There are also suggestions sporting director Mateu Alemany could be dismissed.

Ousmane Dembele is "still like a child" and needs guidance in order to fulfil his potential, according to former Barcelona team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Boateng spent the latter part of the 2018-19 season playing alongside Dembele at Camp Nou while on loan from Sassuolo and he opened up about the France international's temperament in an interview with Bild.

Dembele has earned a reputation for his poor timekeeping having been suspended for Barcelona's defeat to Real Betis last season after missing a training session and France coach Didier Deschamps publicly lambasted him, saying: "I know about his excuses when he turns up late."

Barcelona stuck by the 22-year-old in the face of speculation that he might leave the club, for whom he scored eight goals in 29 LaLiga appearances last season, but Boateng urged the Blaugrana to nurture his talent.

"He is very calm, and does not talk much," Boateng told Bild.

"He is still like a child to me. You have to take him as he is and it may be that he arrives late.

"There are players who do that in defiance, but that's different with him. He's just like a little boy – one who earns a lot of money, one who is extremely public."

Boateng's stay with the LaLiga champions was short-lived and he made just three league appearances during a five-month spell at the club.

In contrast, Dembele is someone Barca coach Ernesto Valverde and president Josep Maria Bartomeu seem keen to keep hold of as he embarks upon his third season in Catalonia.

Boateng warned Barcelona: "You have to point him in the right direction. If he does not learn then it is his fault.

"For me, he's still a little boy who was thrown into this huge pool, suddenly costing 150 million euros overnight and somehow does not even know how everything works – because he just wants to play football."

Casemiro has told Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior to start thinking about the Ballon d'Or and other major prizes after making his Brazil debut.

Vinicius made his first appearance for the Selecao in Tuesday's underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Peru, Brazil's first loss since last year's World Cup.

The 19-year-old has started 10 LaLiga matches across the past two seasons, too, and Casemiro believes he needs to be aiming high.

"Vinicius has a very good head and, in the past year, he has surprised many people with the football he played," the midfielder told reporters.

"It is not normal for a 19-year-old boy to do what he did with the Real Madrid shirt. I told him the other day that this year is a year that he has to start thinking big.

"I repeat: what he did last year was not normal. He surprised everyone and showed that he is ready to be a starter at Real Madrid.

"When you are a starting Real Madrid player, you have to think big. Think of the Ballon d'Or, FIFA's World XI. He is a great player and he has already proven it.

"Of course, he is very young, you cannot put too much pressure and weight on his back. But I think he has to start thinking big.

"It is very important for us that he is here with the national team, but we have to be calm; two years ago he was playing in the Flamengo youth team."

David Beckham and Inter Miami have set their sights on Lionel Messi.

Messi, 32, has regularly been linked with one day switching to MLS and it appears Inter are making their move.

Beckham seems to be trying his best to land the Barcelona superstar.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM IN TALKS WITH MESSI OVER INTER MIAMI MOVE

Beckham has spoken to Messi about joining Inter Miami, according to Catalunya Radio.

It comes in the wake of reports the forward can leave Barcelona at the end of any season, regardless of when his contract runs until.

The economic bid for Messi would be "brutal", the report said, as Inter look to sign the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter Miami may not stop there. The MLS club, due to begin playing in 2020, are also eyeing Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, according to AS. Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has previously said he is open to coaching Inter Miami.

- After the latest transfer saga ended with Neymar staying at Paris Saint-Germain, it is set to come back to life in January. PSG sporting director Leonardo wants the Brazil international to leave the Ligue 1 champions, according to Tuttosport, and a move could happen in January, with Barcelona and Real Madrid sure to again be linked.

- Barcelona are already looking ahead and are set to track Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz throughout this season, Mundo Deportivo reports. Fabian joined the Serie A side from Real Betis for a reported €30million in July last year.

- Expecting their transfer ban to be cut, Chelsea have identified Nice defender Youcef Atal as a target, according to The Sun. The Algeria international is also wanted by Valencia, Calciomercato.com reports.

- AC Milan have identified Stade Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga as a player to follow, according to Calciomercato.com. The 16-year-old made seven Ligue 1 appearances last season.

- Gonzalo Higuain is continuing to turn around his career at Juventus. Calciomercato.com says the forward – linked with a move away throughout the close season – will start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo when the Serie A champions face Fiorentina on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona may yet seal a deal for Neymar as negotiations are not over, according to the forward's father and agent.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Camp Nou before the European transfer window closed this month.

The Brazil superstar was said to be keen to go back to Barca two years after controversially leaving for a world-record €222million.

PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed Neymar wanted to leave the club and was available for transfer if the right offer was made.

But Barca and PSG were unable to come to an agreement, with LaLiga giants Real Madrid also reportedly seeing offers rejected.

Neymar, who has three years remaining on his PSG contract, has yet to play for the Ligue 1 champions this term.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said he would not select the 27-year-old until his future was resolved.

Neymar Sr, though, has cast fresh doubt on his son's long-term future in the French capital.

"The negotiations between clubs are not over," he said in an appearance at Edinburgh Sports Conference. 

"A Brazilian just wants to be where he is happy and he was very happy at Barcelona. When his friends asked him if he want to go back, it upset him."

Barca reportedly made cash-plus-players bids to PSG in a bid to force a move through, with Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic among those said to have been offered.

"As an agent, you feel weak when there is no structure that allows you to come and go," added Neymar's father.

"There was no release clause in his contract and this makes things very difficult.

"We fought to find an agreement. We gave the best of ourselves for him."

Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP:

- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos labelled Gareth Bale a "great player" and backed his team-mate after a difficult off-season.

Bale was tipped to leave Madrid with a shock move to the Chinese Super League on the cards, however, the Wales star remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Unwanted by head coach Zinedine Zidane, Bale – who has won four Champions League titles and LaLiga among other honours since arriving from Tottenham in 2013 – has featured in all three LaLiga matches this season, scoring a brace in Madrid's 2-2 draw with Villarreal last time out.

Amid criticism of Bale and his reported disconnect from the Madrid squad, Ramos told the Daily Mail: "I think Bale's a great player and he's been really important for the club in the years he's been with us.

"You find many things in the press. Some are true, some are not. We live in this world and we have to try to be above all that.

"Regarding what has been said about Gareth, I think time puts everything in place. Regardless of what each player does in his personal life, I think it should be respected and not even talked about. We're free to do what we want with our free time.

"Of course, professionally, you owe yourself to a team, to a club, and you try to be as honest as possible. Afterwards, it's up to each person to go home with a clear conscience or not."

Doubts over Bale's future came after Zidane returned for a second spell in charge of Madrid towards the latter stages of the 2018-19 campaign.

Zidane oversaw three successive Champions League triumphs before leaving in 2018, however, the Frenchman returned following the departures of Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

Madrid finished third in LaLiga last season as their Champions League defence ended in the last 16, while the Spanish giants are four points off the pace with just one win in three games this term.

"He remains the same person. He keeps his essence as a manager. He has more experience," Ramos said of Zidane. "I would sum up in essence he is the same person, but better because he has more experience."

Ramos, who equalled the record for most Spain caps with his 167th international appearance in Euro 2020 qualifying, added: "Of course after a winning streak for a long time, there's a turning point. Yes, we stopped winning. But there isn't a component of the team that is tired of winning. It is just something that happened and we have to reset and restart. We have new people in our team.

"We will always be a contender to winning. You are forced to win every year. We have to get rid of a bad season and we have more hunger to win and more hunger for competition. I think this will be a good year and we have to do things right from the beginning."

James Rodriguez is hoping to become an important player for Real Madrid this season after staying at the LaLiga giants.

Atletico Madrid and Napoli were heavily linked with star playmaker James, who was tipped to leave Madrid in the off-season.

But James stayed and started for Madrid for the first time since May 2017 in their 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid on August 24.

After two years away on loan at Bayern Munich and an off-season dominated by speculation, James wants to make an impact in the Spanish capital.

"I really hope that this can be my season with Real Madrid," James told El Chiringuito.

James is recovering from a calf injury sustained in action for Madrid prior to the international break.

The injury ruled James out of Colombia's friendlies against Brazil and Venezuela.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid have only won one of their opening three matches following back-to-back draws to be four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.

Madrid return to action when they welcome Levante to the Santiago Bernabeu on September 14.

Samuel Umtiti seems to have escaped a serious foot injury after Barcelona tests confirmed he has only suffered bruising.

The centre-back left the France squad to return to Catalonia on Sunday after being hurt prior to the 4-1 win over Albania in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Umtiti, 25, had a check-up at Barca's medical facilities on Monday, which showed he has not sustained any severe damage.

It is unclear when Umtiti will be fit to return to action but it is likely he will be a doubt for Saturday's LaLiga meeting with Valencia at Camp Nou.

He lost his place in the Barca starting XI last term during two spells out with knee injuries, with France team-mate Clement Lenglet taking advantage and becoming Gerard Pique's usual partner.

He has been an unused substitute in all three LaLiga games of 2019-20 so far.

EA Sports has revealed the 10 highest-rated players on FIFA 20 ahead of the game's release later this month, with Lionel Messi back on top after Cristiano Ronaldo ranked first last year.

Messi enjoyed another stellar campaign for Barcelona in 2018-19, scoring 36 goals in 34 LaLiga matches, inspiring the club's title defence and run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ronaldo's first season at Juventus – who will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 – went as smoothly as might have been expected, with the forward finishing as the club's top-scorer as they claimed an eighth successive Scudetto, though that was not enough to retain his crown as FIFA's highest-rated player.

Neither Ronaldo nor Messi were able to win the Champions League, however, with that honour falling to Liverpool, who have two representatives in the top 10.

Find out who they are and which other players join Messi and Ronaldo in the 10 below.

10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona – 90

Germany international Ter Stegen has developed into one of the globe's most well-rounded goalkeepers after an initially slow start to life at Camp Nou. He is one of three players with a rating of 90, making him the second best keeper on the game.

9. Luka Modric, Real Madrid – 90

Last year's Ballon d'Or winner, Modric's 2019 has not been particularly outstanding, as he has found himself out of the Madrid team a little more due to suspect form. He may be down one rating point from FIFA 19, but he still reaches 90.

8. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – 90

A crucial part of Liverpool's Champions League winning side, Salah has truly established himself as one the world's primary stars over the last couple of years. He was not even in the top 20 in FIFA 19, however.

7. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool – 91

The most important player in Liverpool's Champions League success? Until recently the most expensive defender ever, Van Dijk's influence on the Reds is undeniable. That is reflected in the fact he will be FIFA 20's best defender.

6. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid – 91

Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world for his quality and consistency, Oblak replaces David de Gea – who had a shaky 2018-19 – as the top-ranked keeper on FIFA.

5. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – 91

Even though injuries have plagued De Bruyne in recent times, robbing him of a chunk of last season, the Belgium star remains one of most highly regarded players on the game, with the City star beginning 2019-20 in ominous fashion.

4. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – 91

After helping Chelsea to Europa League success, enjoying a generally fine individual campaign as the Premier League's most creative player with 15 assists, he earned his dream move to Real Madrid. He's yet to feature due to injury, but he'll be hopeful of elevating himself to the next level now.

3. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain – 92

Perhaps a controversial choice to some, Neymar missed a big part of last season through injury and only won Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions, as he was also absent for Brazil's Copa America success. Nevertheless, his skill is undoubtable and he comes in at number three.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) – 93

The best-ranked player on FIFA 19, Ronaldo's rating drops one to 93 despite enjoying a solid season in Serie A. Cynics might suggest Juve's exclusivity deal with FIFA rival Pro Evolution Soccer has something to do with it.

1.Lionel Messi, Barcelona – 94

The world's best player comes in at number one with a rating of 94 after he enjoyed another spell-binding season on all fronts, impressing even though Barca failed in the Champions League.

Sergio Ramos is a born winner who deserves to become Spain's record caps-holder, according to former Sevilla coach Joaquin Caparros.

Ramos, 33, equalled Iker Casillas' tally of 167 senior appearances for La Roja in the 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over the Faroe Islands on Sunday.

The centre-back, who made his Spain debut in 2005 and has won the World Cup and two European Championships, said he would like to reach 200 caps before he retires from international football.

Caparros, who brought Ramos into the Sevilla first team just a year before he first appeared for his country, says it comes as little surprise to see the player on the brink of taking the Spain record - something he is likely to do in next month's Euro 2020 qualifier with Norway.

"He's a born winner, with a great personality since he was young," Caparros told Radio Marca. "He's always had a great talent that has allowed him to reach these figures.

"He arrived at Real Madrid at a very young age and if it wasn't for his personality and clarity of ideas he wouldn't have achieved so much [in his career]."

Ramos has enjoyed spectacular success at club level since joining Real Madrid in 2005, winning 20 major trophies, including four LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Caparros says the player has always demonstrated the right attitude when it comes to chasing honours.

"All the youth coaches at Sevilla were really on the lookout for Sergio Ramos," he said. "He always wanted to play and he listened very attentively to the older players, you would always see him with exemplar professionals like Pablo Alfaro, Javi Navarro or Pep Marti.

"It's no coincidence that he's got this far [in his career]."

Caparros believes more recent criticism of Ramos' form for Madrid, particularly in 2019, is to be expected of someone who has delivered much to a demanding fan base.

"Winning everything is in the DNA of the club and Sergio Ramos is a Real Madrid icon," he added. "Therefore, it's normal that the focus is on him.

"The hunger of Sergio Ramos to overcome every kind of situation serves him well in confronting negative spells. Criticism is normal at Real Madrid but, from my point of view, the problem is more collective than individual in regards to Sergio."

Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract is making headlines.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed Messi has a get-out clause in his deal.

Now, a move across the pond could be on the cards for the Argentina superstar…

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CONSIDERING MLS

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi could leave Camp Nou for MLS, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Messi has an annual exit option in his deal and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner could swap Spain for the United States.

It comes as the Catalan giants look to offer Messi – who has been linked to David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise – a lifetime contract.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to sign a new contract, reports Il Messaggero. The Serbia international midfielder – contracted until 2023 – was linked to Manchester United, Inter, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain during the transfer window. However, Lazio are looking to include a release clause of at least €100million.

- Tuttosport, meanwhile, says Inter are targeting Milinkovic-Savic and Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa.

- According to AS, Real Madrid are lining up Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek for the 2020-21 season. Van de Beek was heavily linked to Madrid prior to the transfer deadline but a move did not materialise.

Manchester City continue to be linked to Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Tuttosport says Pep Guardiola wants to sign the star defender in January following Aymeric Laporte's knee injury.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Dries Mertens could move to China, Belgium or the USA on a free transfer when his Napoli contract expires at the end of the season.

- According to the Daily Star, Adidas played a crucial role in keeping Paul Pogba at Manchester United. Reports linked Pogba to Real Madrid and Juventus but the Frenchman remained at Old Trafford.

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