Jordi Alba appears to be an injury doubt for Barcelona's clash with Real Madrid on March 1 after sustaining a groin problem in the win over Getafe.

Alba - who has endured an injury-hit campaign - went off 22 minutes into Saturday's match at Camp Nou.

He was replaced by Junior Firpo, who played a key part in teeing up Sergi Roberto's strike - a goal which ultimately proved to be the winner for Barca, who had to hold off a second-half fightback from the visitors.

Barca confirmed during the match that Alba had suffered a problem to his right adductor, with tests subsequently confirming the injury.

It is not yet clear how long the 30-year-old will be sidelined for, but it seems his participation in both the Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli and the Clasico are in doubt.

The victory took Quique Setien's side - temporarily at least - level on points with Madrid at the top of LaLiga, with Zinedine Zidane's side not in action until Sunday.

Former Manchester City captain Richard Dunne fears it could be tough to keep Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium following the club's two-season ban from UEFA competitions.

European football's governing body announced on Friday that City would be barred from taking part in the Champions League and Europa League in 2020-21 and 2021-22 due to "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations between 2012-2016.

City swiftly confirmed their intention to appeal the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), stating they were "disappointed but not surprised" by UEFA's verdict, which also included a £25million fine.

Guardiola joined City in 2016 and has led the club to five of the past six domestic trophies on offer in English football.

Despite falling well adrift of Liverpool in this season's Premier League title race, the 49-year-old has spoken frequently of being open to remaining in Manchester, even beyond the end of his current contract in June 2021.

However, ex-Republic of Ireland centre-back Dunne feels being denied the pursuit of a trophy Guardiola last won at Barcelona in 2011 would change the landscape.

"Wherever he's gone, he's always been there to be a winner. That's what he'll want to remain," he told Omnisport.

"He wants to go and win trophies and if City are in a situation where they can no longer compete, because they're selling players and can't attract the top players because there's no Champions League football, it will be difficult.

"I think the club has been organised really well – the whole club, not just the first team. They have a structure in place where they will survive and try and rebuild again.

"But to lose someone like Pep Guardiola would be a huge blow. He's what they've worked towards, to try and get him to come in as manager, and he's been successful.

"You listen to players talk about why they sign for teams and Pep is a huge attraction for any player."

Dunne was City's on-field leader during Thaksin Shinawatra's doomed ownership that preceded Sheikh Mansour's 2008 takeover, and he also played for Aston Villa during the time when American owner Randy Lerner abruptly turned off a once free-flowing investment tap.

Significant boardroom ructions often serve to sow uncertainty among the playing staff and Dunne feels City's current situation amounts to a challenging period for Guardiola's squad.

"You don't know what the owners are thinking and what their next move will be," he explained.

"All the players are going, 'Are you staying?', 'I don't know, someone in the Champions League wants to sign me, so maybe if this doesn't work out…'.

"It might be similar to when the owners came in and took over at City. All the players in the dressing room are talking about it and wondering what's going to happen next. Am I secure? Are they going to move me on?

"There is an uncertainty that grows within the club. They'll appeal and the court case will probably go on for a while. The players will be thinking, 'What's going on this summer? Are we in the Champions League or do I move on?'.

"Also, the talk may be that the Premier League is going to act and deduct points. It all becomes a bit messy and, as much as the players concentrate on the pitch and all that stuff, the talk all around them will all be about this situation."

Should star names seek pastures new, Dunne believes opportunity knocks for some of the bright young talents who have found first-team opportunities tough to come by during the Abu Dhabi era in east Manchester.

Phil Foden has broken through 50 senior appearances, although there remains a clamour for the England Under-21 midfielder to start meaningful games more frequently, while 19-year-old centre-back Eric Garcia impressed when thrown into a patchwork defence during the festive period.

Dunne has no doubt over the quality of the youngsters at City's disposal.

"You look at what's happened with Chelsea this year – they've had the transfer ban and they've been able to blood lots of young players," he added.

"City have that number of talented players coming through in the background, their academy is so highly thought of. They just need players to get to the first team and this may be the opportunity for them.

"You can't say the ban will benefit the club but in every dark cloud there is a silver lining somewhere and maybe for City that's it."

"If the likes of Phil Foden get to play on a more regular basis, if Eric Garcia comes through and other young players make a name for themselves… in the long run, isn't that what UEFA wanted?"

Maurizio Sarri believes Jurgen Klopp is "shaking off the burden" of Liverpool attempting to win the Champions League for a second straight season by claiming Juventus are favourites to lift the trophy. 

As well as tipping them for glory in Europe, Klopp also revealed his surprised at Juve not being clear in the Serie A title race, with Sarri's side level on points with Antonio Conte's Inter at the summit.

However, Sarri suggested the German is only highlighting the Bianconeri's strengths to relieve the pressure on his own players, with Liverpool set to take on Atletico Madrid in the last 16.

"Jurgen also said that he doesn't watch much Italian football, so that explains his confusion!" Sarri told a news conference ahead of Juve's clash with Brescia.

"Jurgen is one of the smartest and funniest people I've ever known and what he's doing here is shaking off the burden of being the favourites for the Champions League.

"It was clear from the very start that this would be a different type of season. I think it's motivating to be in a title race to the very end, so I feel we have to feed off this situation.

"No single match is decisive. We just have to focus on ourselves and picking up as many points as possible."

Manchester City, meanwhile, were handed a two-season ban from European competition by UEFA on Friday for a breach of Financial Fair Play regulations.

While they are to appeal their suspension, already there is speculation over City's star players leaving the club, along with Pep Guardiola, but Sarri does not think the punishment will lead to a mass exodus from the Etihad Stadium.

"I went to Chelsea last season and they weren't in the Champions League. I was happy to do it," Sarri said.

"This is also the first stage of the process, there will be appeals and we'll see what the definitive verdict is, but there are situations where a coach can look beyond those limitations."

Manchester City's two-year ban from UEFA competitions could cost the Premier League champions in the region of £250million in lost revenue.

European football's governing body announced on Friday that City would be fined £25m and barred from the Champions League and the Europa League for the next two seasons, on account of "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations between 2012-16.

City have already stated their intention to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), meaning a seismic moment for elite club football still has twists and turns to come.

The future of manager Pep Guardiola, along with star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, is likely to be the most immediate concern for fans, but the balance sheets that have so fascinated UEFA over recent years are also set to take a considerable hit in the event City observe a Champions League exile.

"If you go deep into the latter stages of the Champions League, you're looking at around £100m in TV money and prize money," Dr Dan Plumley – a football finance expert and senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University – told Omnisport.

City earned £85.7m on their run to the quarter-finals in 2018-19, with greater riches in prospect if they are able to negotiate a last-16 tie against Real Madrid and go all the way this time around.

"Liverpool earned £110m for winning it," Plumley continued. "So, ballpark, £100m because you'd expect them to progress to the knockout stages at least. That's times two, so there's £200m there."

Taking a sponsorship hit

As well as missing out on UEFA broadcasting revenue and prize money, the modern convention of performance-related clauses being written into sponsorship deals is also likely to hurt City.

"Commercial deals that are in place with things like shirt providers and other partners, a lot of those now have penalty clauses for Champions League qualification for the big teams," Plumley said.

"If City aren’t competing on that stage there will be a reduction in their contracts for that period of time.

"So you're looking at maybe a conservative estimate in the ballpark of a £250m reduction in revenue from not being in the Champions League over two full seasons."

The need to make ends meet and remain in line with FFP for any re-entry to European football means City could be forced to cash in on some of their best players, with opportunistic potential buyers unlikely to be hard to find.

"The lure to the player [to leave] is you're not playing in the Champions League for two seasons. That's clear from a player's perspective," Plumley said.

"One line of that argument is clubs will then look to get a knockdown price. I think what City would do in response is inflate the price – if you want our players, you pay the premium – pushing it the other way.

"It often becomes a power play between the player and the club. I think that will happen naturally if this ban is upheld. It could play out both ways in terms of transfer valuations.

"We also have to factor in the reduction in revenue. If City's revenue drops, do you have to shift on a couple anyway to keep the cash position going? Leroy Sane fits that bill because we were led to believe he wanted to leave last year anyway."

Sheikh Mansour likely to remain

Even if fan favourites from the pitch and the dugout seek pastures new, Plumley does not expect City's Abu Dhabi ownership to be going anywhere soon, even if the CAS appeal goes against their club, due to the breadth and depth of their investment in a unique football project.

"I've not seen any murmurings that Sheikh Mansour would be looking to get out," he explained. "If you look at what the club are doing on a wider scale – in New York, in Australia, in Japan. The City Football Group is now a global brand.

"That will take a hit from the bad press around this, no doubt, but it wouldn't wipe too much off the valuation, other than the figures that we're talking about in terms of loss of revenue.

"They do need to be in the Champions League long-term, let's make no mistakes about that. The likes of Jadon Sancho, for example, want to play in the Champions League. If it's a two-season ban, some of those players might not want to come.

"There are one or two little things around the edges – Pep Guardiola's future, a significant dip in revenue if the ban is upheld – but I don’t think the bigger picture for Manchester City will change too much."

Jurgen Klopp has "no clue" as to whether Liverpool can retain their Champions League crown this season and highlighted the levels of luck required to win Europe's elite club competition.

Klopp's runaway Premier League leaders are one of the main contenders to claim the title having won it last year by beating Tottenham in Madrid.

The next step of their quest comes on Tuesday with a trip to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Asked to assess their chances of emerging victorious in Istanbul in May, Klopp struck a cautious note.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's league clash with Norwich City, he told reporters: "Juventus were my favourites before the season started but obviously I don't watch Italian football enough because I cannot work out why they are not 10 points ahead at the top of Serie A.

"They have the biggest squad I have ever seen in my life; quality players too, it's crazy.

"The Bayern Munich squad is also massive, PSG are incredible when they are all fit, you can never discount Barcelona and let's not forget Manchester City because the Champions League will be one of their big targets.

"I have no clue how far we can go but there's no need to think about it yet because at the moment all we need to concentrate on is Atletico on Tuesday."

The German has built a formidable squad on Merseyside but believes the level of quality elsewhere in Europe means it will come down to a few crucial moments.

He added: "I have no clue if we can win the Champions League again, but we should be ready to go for it.

"What I know and what we showed last year is that we can beat the best. It doesn't mean we will, it just means we can, and that is the only thing I have to know.

"There are so many strong teams out there you have to be ready for the fight, then it's about luck in certain moments to win anything.

"In the end the quality within a squad is not always the biggest difference, it's more about who can find the right mood, show the most desire, be decisive in the right moment.

"And luck. To win anything you will need that for sure."

Jose Mourinho slammed the decision to schedule Tottenham's clash with Aston Villa on Sunday, saying there was a lack of care.

Spurs will host RB Leipzig in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday, just three days after making the trip to Villa Park.

Mourinho was critical of the scheduling and said it was unfair on Tottenham, who are sixth in the Premier League.

"I'll give you a very simple example. [Friday], Leicester v Wolves. Why? Do they have a Champions League game next week? No. Not Leicester, not Wolves. Wolves has a Europa League game on the Thursday," the Spurs head coach said.

"We are the team in England that plays a Champions League game on Wednesday. We don't play Friday, we don't play Saturday, we play Sunday. I don't think it is normal."

Mourinho said the decisions were harming last season's Champions League runners-up Tottenham.

"You can tell me it was because your game was chosen to be on TV on Sunday at 12pm and I ask you, in the other five matches of the Premier League this weekend, there is not another one that could be played on Sunday at 2.30pm? It's as simple as that," he said.

"That's the only thing I say – there is no care. They just chose what they want and they don't think how they can hurt an English team.

"And in this case we are going to be hurt because we are going to play on Sunday 2pm when we could perfectly play on Saturday or [Friday night]."

Marcos Llorente believes Atletico Madrid can take confidence from their 2-2 draw at Valencia into Tuesday's Champions League clash with Liverpool.

Atletico led twice at the Mestalla on Friday before being held to a draw, which means they have won just one of their past seven games.

But Llorente, who scored his first goal for the club, said it was a result that could give Atletico a boost ahead of hosting Liverpool in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

"Every player likes scoring goals. I'm happy to have done so and to make the most of the chances the coach gives me," he said, via the club's website.

"Valencia are a great team and this match gives us confidence ahead of Tuesday's very important clash."

Atletico look set to battle for a top-four finish in LaLiga, sitting two points adrift of third-placed Getafe and just one ahead of Sevilla.

Diego Simeone, who is under pressure as coach, was satisfied with his side's performance despite the draw.

"Both teams had many chances to score. We hurt them a lot on the break in the first half, whereas they created problems for us in the second," he said.

"It was a tough game against a team that haven't lost at their stadium. This is how we have to compete, because this is the way forward."

UEFA's decision to hit Manchester City with a two-season ban from European football for Financial Fair Play breaches is likely to send shockwaves across elite club football.

But what next for the reigning Premier League champions at the eye of the storm?

Here, we have a look at what Friday's judgement means for City, Pep Guardiola and his Etihad Stadium stars.

 

Appeal could see City feature in next season's Champions League

City were swift in their response to UEFA's punishment, announcing their intention to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Irrespective of whether City are successful in their attempts to overturn the sanctions or not, any CAS case is likely to run for months, meaning the appeal could still be ongoing when next season's Champions League rolls around.

However, even if this means City kick the can down the road and line up in Europe's top competition in 2020-21, there is little doubt the spectre of UEFA coming down hard on the club does little for long-term planning.

Guardiola's future

Guardiola is under contract at City until the end of 2020-21 and, throughout the course of an uneven campaign this time around, has frequently hinted he could be open to a longer stay.

The prospect of being denied annual shots at the competition that has eluded him since a second win with Barcelona in 2010-11 might change that, while UEFA landed their bombshell during the same week rumours linking Guardiola to Juventus surfaced once more.

The 49-year-old might find it harder than most managers to separate himself emotionally from boardroom events, given his close friend Ferran Soriano – a man instrumental in bringing him to Manchester – is City's chief executive officer and mastermind of their commercial strategy. Will his response be motivated more by loyalty or disappointment?

Summer rebuild on ice?

Despite intermittently hitting their brilliant best, City's laboured pursuit of Liverpool this season has suggested the end of a cycle for a gifted squad that has swept all before them domestically.

At least one centre-back, a left-back, a winger and possible even another central attacker could all have been on the agenda, but a prospective Champions League ban must now alter City's transfer plans.

Leroy Sane's long-rumoured exit now appears even more likely, while Europe's elite might even chance their arm with enquiries over the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

Time for the Foden generation

City will now be on the outside looking in as a cluster of Europe's elite pursue their former academy product Jadon Sancho, but the immediate prospects for those currently in residence at the Etihad Campus look to have suddenly improved.

Guardiola has long earmarked 2020-21 as the campaign where Phil Foden will come to long-awaited prominence, given David Silva is bringing down the curtain on a glorious decade in Manchester when this season concludes.

Centre-back reinforcement can also come from within in the form of Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, while the prodigiously gifted Jayden Braaf might find some of his reported disciplinary problems within the academy system can now be met with a blind eye.

Domestic dominance 2.0

City will cede the Premier League to a relentless Liverpool but their 2018-19 treble might be chased again with renewed vigour next term.

The first-team squad might lose some of its depth of quality in these new circumstances, but a talent pool such as City's only being required to compete on a weekend-to-weekend basis represents a problem for those Premier League rivals being extended at home and abroad.

City's Champions League relationship broken beyond repair

City's fanbase have long nursed an uneasy relationship with the Champions League and the detente Guardiola clearly desires is now nothing other than a pipe dream.

Expect the booing of the competition anthem to reach a seething boiling point when Real Madrid visit the Etihad Stadium next month.

In a tournament where they have frequently flattered to deceive, City could do worse than to harness a siege mentality in what Guardiola can sell to his players as a now-or-never tilt for glory.

European heavyweights thumbing through their accounts

UEFA's FFP system is safe for now, but the forthcoming CAS appeal could become a long and torrid process.

City are sure to present a thorough case, which could end up casting a light on the business operations of other major clubs.

All of European football's major players will be watching on with unswerving interest and suspense.

Manchester City face an uncertain immediate future in European competition after UEFA announced a two-season ban for the Premier League club on Friday.

European football's chief governing body, who also administered a €30million fine, ruled City were guilty of "serious breaches" of its Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

It marked the end of a lengthy probe into City's financial affairs, which was launched following a series of allegations made by German publication Der Spiegel in November 2018.

City denied any wrongdoing throughout the process and immediately announced their intention to appeal against the decision.

Below we take a look back at how this point was reached.

 

November 2018: Football Leaks allegations emerge

It has been 15 months since Der Spiegel published a host of articles claiming the defending Premier League champions flagrantly flouted UEFA's FFP laws. The German publication purportedly gained the information from whistleblowers Football Leaks and claimed Sheikh Mansour's City regime topped up multi-million-pound sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi companies, using their owner's fortune, to meet the financial rules. It was also claimed City were cut a favourable deal by UEFA for overspending in 2014. City said in response: "The attempt to damage the club's reputation is organised and clear".

November 2018: UEFA warns City FFP investigation could reopen

UEFA said it would consider reopening a 2014 probe, which saw City fined and have restrictions on the size of Champions League squad imposed, if "new information comes to light". Early in December, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "We are assessing the situation. We have an independent body working on it. Very soon you will have an answer on what will happen in this concrete case."

March 2019: UEFA launches formal investigation

It was almost a year ago UEFA formally started an investigation into Der Spiegel's allegations, with Club Financial Control Board chairman and former Belgium prime minister Yves Leterme warning the "heaviest punishment" City face is "expulsion from UEFA competitions". City said: "The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false. The club's published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record".

May 2019: City respond to ban reports

After reports emerged in the New York Times that City were facing the prospect of a one-year UEFA ban, the club released a statement registering concern that their "good faith" in UEFA's investigation into their financial affairs could be "misplaced". 

May 2019: "Hostile process" slammed by City

Leterme had earlier in the year told Belgian magazine Sport and Strategy that City should face a ban from UEFA competition if the allegations were proven. A strongly worded club statement slammed the CFCB investigation as a "hostile process" after the probe was referred to the body's adjudicatory chamber for a final decision after the completion of Leterme's inquiry. The club said they were "disappointed but regrettably not surprised" by the decision.

November 2019: Reports say City set to avoid ban

Towards the back end of last year, it was reported UEFA were struggling to enforce its FFP regulations and City could avoid a ban and escape only with a fine.

November 2019: CAS deems City appeal 'inadmissible'

In June last year, City appealed against UEFA's investigation into alleged breaches of FFP to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, five months later CAS ruled City's appeal as "inadmissible" because UEFA had not reached a final decision on the case.

February 2020: UEFA announces ban

After a lengthy process, UEFA announced City have been hit with a two-year ban from European competition and a hefty €30million fine. The Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB found City guilty of "overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016". City again questioned the process of the investigation and announced their intention to launch an appeal with CAS "at the earliest opportunity".

Manchester City have been given a two-season Champions League ban for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations, UEFA has announced.

The Premier League club must also pay a €30million fine as part of their punishments, which are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Following an investigation, the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found City guilty of "overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016".

The probe into City's financial affairs was prompted by a series of allegations published by German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018, which drew on documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.

City have denied wrongdoing throughout the process and swiftly stated their intention to appeal the verdict, accusing UEFA of a lack of impartiality in a strongly worded statement.

"Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today's announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber," the statement read.

"The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.  

"Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity."

The statement from the Premier League champions sounded a similarly strident tone to when they addressed being referred to the CFCB's Adjudicatory Chamber in May last year and they once again took specific issue with Yves Leterme - the former Belgian Prime Minister and UEFA's chief investigator.

City's appeal against that referral was dismissed as "inadmissible" by CAS last November because the CFCB had not determined a punishment at that stage.

CAS published details of that appeal this week, revealing City sought damages from UEFA over what they felt were "unlawful" leaks to the media – accusations Leterme believed to be "groundless" and "unacceptable in tone". CAS noted the allegations of leaks were "worrisome".

"In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun," City's Friday statement read.

"The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. 

"The club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling."

City completed a clean sweep of domestic trophies in England last season and have won five of the past six major English honours on offer.

European success has eluded Pep Guardiola and his players, however, and UEFA's ruling arguably heightens the importance of the forthcoming last-16 showdown with Real Madrid.

UEFA previously found City guilty of FFP breaches in 2014, with a €60m fine – later reduced to €20m after stipulated conditions were met – and a restriction in squad numbers for their 2014-15 Champions League campaign the punishment on that occasion.

Manuel Neuer is a doubt for Bayern Munich's trip to Cologne on Sunday after he missed training due to illness.

Bayern confirmed their captain sat out Thursday's session at Sabener Strasse because of a gastro-intestinal infection.

Neuer, 33, has been an ever-present for Bayern in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season.

There was better news for head coach Hansi Flick as Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies were back among the first-team group having been laid low by a cold and an ankle knock respectively.

Following last weekend's 0-0 draw against second-place RB Leipzig, Bayern retain a slender one-point advantage as they pursue an eighth consecutive Bundesliga crown.

Flick's side resume their Champions League campaign with a last-16 trip to Chelsea on February 25.

Alvaro Morata is fit to feature in Atletico Madrid's LaLiga meeting with Valencia on Friday, Diego Simeone has confirmed.

An unspecified muscle injury in Morata's right leg forced him off early in the second half of the 1-0 defeat to his former club Real Madrid on February 1.

With Diego Costa and Joao Felix already out, Simeone had to start Saturday's 1-0 victory over Granada with Angel Correa and Vitolo in attack.

Despite confirming Morata will form part of his team for Atletico's trip to face Valencia at Mestalla on Friday - "Yes, he will be in the game tomorrow" - Simeone was unwilling to respond substantially to a follow-up question.

That concerned whether the 27-year-old Morata and fellow former Chelsea striker Diego Costa will be available for the first leg of Atletico's Champions League last-16 tie with Liverpool next Tuesday.

"I'm not looking at Tuesday's game [against Liverpool], all our energy and thoughts are focused on Valencia. After that, we'll look to our next match," said Simeone.

Atletico sit fourth in LaLiga, two points ahead of Valencia, and Simeone is wary of the threat posed by Albert Celades' team.

"It's a very important match because it's the one coming next," said Simeone. "Valencia at home are very strong with their fans behind them.

"They have important players and we must think about how we can hurt them in such a difficult fixture.

"We need to win, because this generates momentum and gives a positive feeling.

"Furthermore, it helps you keep improving."

Chelsea have committed €44million to the signing of Hakim Ziyech, who has become one of the most admired talents in European football over the past two seasons at Ajax.

The impending transfer was announced on Thursday but remains subject to Morocco international Ziyech agreeing personal terms at Stamford Bridge.

The 26-year-old was one of the best players on the pitch during a barnstorming 4-4 draw in November's Champions League clash between the sides.

Kepa Arrizabalaga may have been credited with an own goal but it was Ziyech's sensational bending free-kick from the right touchline that did the damage as the visitors opened up a 3-1 half-time lead.

Ziyech, who predominantly operates from the right but can play behind a striker, is now set to feature more regularly at the Bridge and we used Opta data to examine his ability.


THE EREDIVISIE'S MASTER CREATOR

Ziyech has been one of the Eredivisie's top performers since breaking into the first team at Heerenveen in 2012 having risen through the club's youth teams.

After a two-year stop at Twente, Ziyech moved to Ajax in August 2016 where his performances domestically and in Europe have seen his star continue to rise.

Since his switch to the Johan Cruijff ArenA, only four players can boast a higher goals return than his 38 while his sensational tally of 51  Eredivisie assists is 16 better than the 35 of Steven Berghuis, the next highest on the list.

Indeed, his combined 89 goal involvements is in the best in the league during this time, seven more than Berghuis, while Bryan Linssen (who has the most goals with 52 ) is way behind with 66 .

To really emphasise Ziyech's attacking brilliance, his 421 chances created since September 2016 is a whopping 134 more than second-place Berghuis.


MIXING IT WITH MESSI AND MBAPPE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Ajax were the great entertainers of the of the 2018-19 Champions League and only a last-gasp goal from Tottenham's Lucas Moura denied Erik ten Hag's men a place in the final.

Ziyech was typically influential in that run to the last four and since August 2018 he has provided seven assists in Europe's premier competition (excluding qualifiers).

That is as many as team-mate Dusan Tadic and just one fewer than the best of eight achieved by Kylian Mbappe and Riyad Mahrez - and one more than Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

His five goals are 13 fewer than the sensational 18 scored by Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in the same time, with Messi registering 14 .

Messi tops the list of goal involvements at 20 , with Lewandowski (18) , Mbappe (17) , Raheem Sterling (14) , Tadic and Mohamed Salah (both 13) above Ziyech's combined goals and assists tally of 12 .

In terms of chances created, Ziyech scores highly as well. His 39 is the same as Christian Eriksen and beaten only by Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos (51) , Tadic (47) and Messi (41) .


THE STATS

- Since the 2012-13 season, Ziyech has made 217 Eredivisie appearances, scored 79 goals and contributed 87 assists.

- Ziyech has at least 10 assists in each of his previous six Eredivisie seasons, no player has managed to do so in more than two campaigns in the same period.

- No players has more assists (51) , shots (528) , created chances (421) , completed dribbles (288) or recoveries (752) than Ziyech in the Eredivisie since he joined Ajax.

- Over the past two seasons, only Mohamed Salah (79) and Messi (77) have taken more Champions League shots than Ziyech ( 75 same as Cristiano Ronaldo). 

RB Leipzig will be without Tyler Adams for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Tottenham.

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann announced at a news conference on Thursday the United States international sustained a calf injury in training and will be out for at least a week.

Leipzig face Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday before taking on Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in north London four days later.

Adams, who turns 21 on Friday, has made five appearances in all competitions this season, having only returned from seven months out with a groin issue in December.

He started the 0-0 draw with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday that left Leipzig winless in four games in all competitions.

However, Nagelsmann is confident his team are primed to reproduce their best form as they hit a crucial part of the season.

"Our football improved against Bayern. It's a step in the right direction. The game has given the players confidence; training has been full of determination and power this week," said Nagelsmann.

"The team lacked stability before Bayern. There have been a lot of new elements in training in recent weeks that challenged them.

"I'm confident we can shake off this mini struggle, though, and believe that we already have."

Neymar is in doubt for Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 first leg at Borussia Dortmund, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.

PSG were without star forward Neymar for Wednesday's 6-1 rout of Dijon in the Coupe de France quarter-finals due to a rib injury.

Neymar stayed in Paris as the Brazilian continues to recover from the injury, which he suffered against Montpellier on February 1 and led to him missing Ligue 1 wins over Nantes and Lyon.

After travelling to Amiens in Ligue 1 on Saturday, PSG will then make the trip Dortmund for the opening leg of their Champions League tie against the Bundesliga outfit on Tuesday.

Asked about Neymar post-game, Tuchel told reporters: "I can't say that he will be 100 per cent to play against Borussia Dortmund.

"We will discuss and decide on Friday, the latest possible time to do so. We can't risk his fitness."

Tuchel added: "We aren't going to take risks against Amiens, it's clear. We will have a strong team, but if we have little doubts, we won't take risks."

PSG sailed into the Coupe de France semi-finals thanks to the midweek demolition at Dijon.

An early own goal from Wesley Lautoa opened the scoring for PSG, though the visitors were pegged back by Mounir Chouiar 12 minutes later.

However, a Pablo Sarabia brace and goals from Kylian Mbappe and Thiago Silva, as well as a Senou Coulibaly own goal secured PSG's passage.

"Dijon started very aggressively, took a lot of risks and put in a lot of effort. We were also very focused, and battled for second balls," Tuchel said.

"We were very careful but were able to step up our tempo. We were patient and played quickly, simply and created space in the second half. We controlled the game and scored two more goals quickly."

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