Ronald Koeman has a clause in his Netherlands contract that allows him to leave to coach Barcelona, but Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) director Nico-Jan Hoogma hopes he stays put.

One point from their final two qualifying matches in Group C will see Netherlands clinch their place at Euro 2020 and they are in good shape after winning their past four games.

Former Barca defender Koeman is under contract until the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup and Hoogma hopes not to change coach until after the tournament in Qatar.

"I hope we can work together for a very long time, because I think it is going very well," Hoogma said of Koeman on FOX Sports.

"But Ronald has long indicated that he wants to be Barcelona coach someday. Let's see what will happen.

"Success with Oranje will certainly help him. But again, I hope that the process continues up to and including the World Cup in Qatar."

Barcelona are top of LaLiga after nine matches in 2019-20 but question marks linger over the future of head coach Ernesto Valverde, who came under pressure towards the end of last season.

The Blaugrana's elimination from the Champions League semi-finals by Liverpool and defeat in the Copa del Rey final to Valencia left Valverde's position in doubt, but Hoogma indicated Koeman would not come cheap if there is an attempt to lure him to Camp Nou.

"Agreements have been made about it," said Hoogma. "They will have to pay something for him. How much? I'm not talking about that.

"After one year [of Koeman's time in charge] we still have a year to go to the European Championship, so this is not the time [to talk about it].

"No matter how I respond, there will always be people who say if they [Barcelona] come for him, he will go anyway."

Gabriel Jesus joined an illustrious list of players after scoring his 50th Manchester City goal in the Premier League champions' 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Jesus sent a glancing header in off the post to put City ahead 39 minutes into Saturday's encounter at Selhurst Park.

David Silva doubled City's advantage with a wonderful volley two minutes later as Pep Guardiola's side moved to within five points of league leaders Liverpool.

With his goal, Jesus brought up the milestone of 50 in all competitions for City, having joined the club in January 2017.

The 22-year-old also became the seventh player to achieve the feat while playing for Guardiola, joining Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, along with City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.

Jesus is only eight behind Pedro, but Messi leads the way with an incredible 211 goals during four seasons under Guardiola at Barca.

"I'm very happy, you know, because last season I had a difficult start to the season," Jesus, who has now scored in each of his last seven starts for City, told Sky Sports.

"This season is going to be different for me. I worked hard as well. I focus on the goal all the time and I think that's why I score a lot."

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona - 211

2. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City - 103

3. Thomas Muller, Bayern Munich - 79

4. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City; Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich - both 67

6. Pedro, Barcelona - 58

7. Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City - 50

Ernesto Valverde thinks "it is fashionable not to agree on anything in political matters" and is keen for a new date for Barcelona's Clasico contest with Real Madrid to be signed off as soon as possible.

The first LaLiga meeting between the fierce rivals this season was due to take place next Saturday at Camp Nou but the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday the match was postponed due to the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

There were violent scenes in Barcelona this week after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences over their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

The RFEF intervened after a rally in the city by pro-independence politicians was called for the same day as the Clasico.

Barca later suggested December 18 as a potential new date and Madrid agreed with the proposal, which still requires ratification from the RFEF's Competition Committee.

Speaking after Barca's 3-0 triumph at Eibar on Saturday, Valverde said: "I hope and I trust that we play this match before the end of the first round of fixtures, or at least before the end of the season.

"It's fashionable to not agree on anything on political issues. I hope that [there is an agreement] in this. I don't think it's too difficult."

On the pitch, Barca ultimately cruised at Ipurua with Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez all on target in a win that saw the Blaugrana reach LaLiga's summit, albeit Madrid can reclaim top spot against Real Mallorca later on Saturday.

It was one of the best collaborative performances the trio have produced since Griezmann's close-season switch from Atletico Madrid and Valverde said it was a matter of time before the triumvirate gained an understanding playing with one another.

"It's a question of time and of playing matches," Valverde added.

"In the end, great players always find each other [on the pitch] and know where their team-mates will be and know where the pass will go.

"They've participated and worked very hard. This is the reward. They scored a goal each, they understood each other well.

"The new players are finding their place and trying to understand each other. It's a question of time before they understand each other better."

Antoine Griezmann believes his alliance with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is progressing well after the forward trio combined to fine effect in the 3-0 win at Eibar.

Griezmann settled Barca after a frantic opening to the contest, putting them ahead in the 13th minute.

The €120million man then had a hand in second-half goals for Messi and Suarez as Barca moved to the top of the table ahead of Real Madrid playing later on Saturday.

"There will be better or worse days, but we are getting to know each other little by little and we will do more," he told Movistar LaLiga.

Griezmann's opener was made possible by his well-timed run and a wonderful raking pass from centre-back Clement Lenglet – a move the two France internationals conceived before executing it impressively.

"We knew that Eibar were pressing a lot above and I told Lenglet that, if he saw me near the sideline, he should put it long," Griezmann said. "He did so and went 0-1.

"It was important to win all three points because, after the international break, it is always difficult to come on away trips. 

"It has been a good game and now we think about the Champions League."

Ernesto Valverde's side travel to face Slavia Prague on Wednesday, having taken four points from their opening two European matches versus Borussia Dortmund and Inter.

Sergi Roberto is to undergo tests to ascertain the extent of an injury to his left knee sustained in Barcelona's LaLiga victory at Eibar.

The Spain international was replaced at full-back by Nelson Semedo at half-time of the clash at Ipurua.

Barca later tweeted, saying: " [INJURY NEWS] @SergiRoberto10 has hurt his left knee. Tests will reveal the exact extent of the injury #EibarBarça."

Ernesto Valverde's men ultimately ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, with Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez all on target.

It was a win that saw Barca reach the summit in LaLiga, although Real Madrid will quickly regain top spot if they emerge victorious at Real Mallorca later on Saturday.

Antoine Griezmann's sense the pass from Clement Langlet would coming was intuitive, his run that caused Eibar defender Pablo De Blasis to panic and clumsily fall instinctive.

But then, reality and the weight of the moment briefly seemed to afflict Barcelona's €120m forward.

This was the second time Griezmann, again lining up in a left-sided attacking role that does not come naturally to him, had started a LaLiga match alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

All three were on the field for the final half hour of Barca's 0-0 Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund, along with the second half of the 2-0 loss at Granada. On their previous starts together, Messi made it way halfway through a 2-1 win over Villarreal, while victory against Inter was only secured after Griezmann's withdrawal.

The former Atletico Madrid favourite was an unused substituted for the 4-0 win over Sevilla that preceded an international break when he failed to find the net for France. And, at Eibar's wonderfully idiosyncratic Ipurua home, the signs up until the 13th minute had not been great.

               **************************

Suarez is playing with a level of sharpness rarely spotted over the past 18 months, which is bad news for any designs Griezmann might have for operating in the middle of Barca's front three.

In the fifth minute of a lively opening to the contest, the Uruguay striker effortlessly spun Anaitz Arbilla to open up 45 yards of open space and possibilities, including Griezmann to his left.

Suarez instead opted for an audacious and poorly executed shot from a fanciful distance. Would a pass to Griezmann not have been a better option? True, an early dart from Barca's newest attacking recruit had already been headed off by Arbilla but it was hard to imagine seeing something so wild during the MSN days.

Messi. Suarez. Neymar. The trident to which the Blaugrana's latest all-star configuration is always likely to be compared. Messi has made no secret of the fact he wanted a reunion during the close season when it was clear Neymar's Parisian adventure had turned sour.

Three supreme soloists who slotted together irresistibly at their best. The clunk of Suarez swapping positions with Griezmann, only for Arthur's attempted pass to miss them both jarred by comparison.

                **************************

It is worth remembering it was not instantly all milk and honey for Barca's South American superstars in 2014-15.

While Griezmann, Messi and Suarez will be able to iron out the kinks for a few more weeks before meeting Real Madrid, following Friday's El Clasico postponement, MSN made their collective debut at the Santiago Bernabeu and lost 3-1.

Next time out, there was a 1-0 defeat to Celta Vigo. Only in their third game together, where a Messi brace sealed a 2-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam, did things start to click.

They were in full flight by the turn of the year, their early struggles eventually a forgotten blemish upon a magnificent treble. Those are lofty standards for a signing whose worth has already been extensively disputed to live up to.

                ***************************

And so, with Arbilla helpfully on his backside, Griezmann came over somewhat jittery. His feet, not quite sorting themselves out the other side of an anxious glance backwards to locate the rest of the Eibar defence.

He dug out a left-footed finish that lacked conviction but ended up in the net via goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and the inside of his post. Suarez was the first to embrace his team-mate. Job done. Relief palpable.

From that point, Artur, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets gradually drew the sting from Eibar before squeezing the life from them. After the interval, it was time for the headline acts to have some fun.

In the 58th minute, Suarez twisted in a tight spot inside the Eibar area and shifted the ball inside to Griezmann, who saw and heard Messi darting around him. A deft one-touch lay-off left the mercurial Argentine with a simple finish.

In the 66th minute, it was Messi's turn to leave it on a plate for Suarez, having raced clear onto a throughball from Griezmann, who often roved slightly deeper to fine effect after the break.

That was 3-0 and game over. There will be tougher tests of their newly established union, but MSG showed enough at Ipurua to make Spain and Europe take note.

Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were all on target as Barcelona coasted to a 3-0 win at Eibar to end a frantic week with a fifth straight victory on all fronts.

Barca opted to travel to the Basque Country early on Thursday amid the political unrest in their home city as a result of nine Catalan political leaders being dealt long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

The violent scenes that broke out in protest led to the postponement of next week's Clasico with Real Madrid, but it was back to business for Ernesto Valverde's men at Ipurua.

Griezmann opened the scoring with a classy 13th-minute goal and teed up Messi to double the lead after neat work from Suarez, who scored in a seventh straight outing against Eibar to round out the routine triumph.

Suarez's audacious effort just inside the opposition half was not in keeping with the tone of the early exchanges in which Pedro Leon blazed over from one of several dangerous Eibar crosses.

But Pablo de Blasis' untimely slip allowed Griezmann to race onto Clement Lenglet's long punt and he had the composure to clip past Marko Dmitrovic and find the net via the post.

Undeterred, Pedro Leon's exquisite right-wing centre needed evasive action from Samuel Umtiti – making his first competitive appearance of the season – to deny Charles, while at the other end Messi's quick feet nearly rounded Dmitrovic for a tap-in.

It was game over when Messi finished a wonderful team move just shy of the hour. Suarez combined brilliantly with Griezmann and he teed up the Argentina superstar to slot into the bottom-right corner.

Messi then turned provider, racing onto Griezmann's sumptuous throughball and unselfishly laying on for Suarez to pass into an open goal.

Suarez almost added further gloss with a well-struck half-volley five minutes from time, but his effort just cleared the right-hand post.

 

What does it mean? Barca hitting their stride

Messi's injury-hit start to the campaign coincided with some underwhelming early season performances. It took a while for Barca to run through the gears here, perhaps the midweek turmoil playing a part in that, and yet it ultimately ended up a comfortable day for a fourth straight LaLiga win that puts them top – albeit Real Madrid can return to the summit later on Saturday.

Messi, Griezmann, Suarez triumvirate gaining in confidence

One senses Valverde still has solutions to find defensively, but up top there is a growing understanding between Messi, Griezmann and Suarez. The trio combined to glorious effect for Messi's goal and the captain set up Suarez when he could have gone for goal himself for Barca's third. It was an ominous warning to their LaLiga rivals.

Charles struggles to fire

Eibar were arguably the more imaginative team in the opening stages with Pedro Leon and Fabio Orellana dangerous out wide. But Charles did not do enough from his central striking position to put pressure on Umtiti or Lenglet.

What's next?

Barca are back in action on Wednesday when they visit Slavia Prague for matchweek three of the Champions League. Eibar travel to Real Valladolid next Saturday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed Jose Mourinho to prove a success in his next position, but the ex-Barcelona striker remains less enamoured with Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic forged a strong bond during spells together at Inter and Manchester United.

The divisive former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has not held a managerial job since parting ways with United in December 2018 but appears to be edging closer to a coaching comeback.

Mourinho recently rejected the chance to hold talks with Lyon as he "has already chosen another club," the Ligue 1 side's president, Jean-Michel Aulas, said earlier this month.

Ibrahimovic is adamant the Portuguese's next employers will enjoy the best of his abilities.

"He had an incredible impact on my career," the LA Galaxy striker told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He is still 'the Special One', a winner. I hope he will back on a bench soon and I am sure he will start winning immediately."

Guardiola, however, does not occupy the same place in Ibrahimovic's heart.

The pair shared a famously dysfunctional relationship over the course of the Swede's single season with Barca, which featured 16 LaLiga goals and a title triumph.

"We never had a direct confrontation because of him," Ibrahimovic said of Guardiola, who is now in charge of Manchester City.

"When we faced each other, he hid. He waited for me to leave and then left the dressing room. As a coach he is a phenomenon, but as a man..."

Lionel Messi believes a return to Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar is "complicated" because some people do not want him back at the club.

Neymar attempted to engineer a return to Camp Nou during the previous transfer window, just two years after leaving for the Ligue 1 side in a world-record €222million deal.

The strained relationship between the two clubs was said to have impacted transfer discussions, however, and the Brazil international remains a PSG player.

Messi starred in a front three alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez and they remain in contact, but the Argentina star is unsure if a reunion at Barca will be possible.

"We talk often and we have a group chat with Luis Suarez," Messi told Buenos Aires radio station Metro 95.1. 

"The issue of his return is complicated. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left.

"There are people from the club and members who do not want him to return. If it is for sporting reasons, Neymar is one of the best in the world, but I understand the other factors."

Messi, presented with the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time this week, recently declared he intends to see out the remainder of his career at Barcelona.

However, unlike fellow club icon Andres Iniesta, he has ruled out signing a lifetime contract

"That was talked about a while ago, as was done with Iniesta and the others," he said.

"I don't want a contract to tie me up because I don't know how I'm going to feel. I don't want to be [under contract] if I'm not well.

"I'm going to compete as long as I feel good physically, but obviously I would stay a lifetime."

Messi also opened up on his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, who he competed with for team and individual honours for just short of a decade during the Portuguese forward's time at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018 and Messi admits Barca's Clasico showdowns with Madrid have lost some lustre as a result.

"Yes, it was good when he was in the Spanish league," Messi said.

"It made the Clasicos more special and gave them more value."

Barcelona's appeal to have Ousmane Dembele's two-game ban reduced to one has been rejected by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Dembele was sent off in the closing minutes of Barca's 4-0 LaLiga win over Sevilla this month following a confrontation with referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz, who had just given debutant Ronald Araujo a red card for a foul on Javier Hernandez.

Barcelona's initial appeal against Dembele's red card was dismissed and he was ruled out of the club's next two league matches.

With the France forward seemingly set to miss the Clasico against Real Madrid, which had been scheduled for October 26, Barca then attempted to have his ban halved.

Their efforts proved in vain but Dembele will now be available for the first LaLiga Clasico of the season, with the fixture having been postponed due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

Instead, the former Borussia Dortmund star will miss Saturday's match against Eibar and the meeting with Real Valladolid a week on Tuesday.

The Camp Nou Clasico appears set to be played on December 18 after both Barca and Madrid proposed the date on Friday.

Dembele has made three league appearances for Barca this season, scoring once - against Sevilla.

Samuel Umtiti and Junior Firpo have been passed fit to play a part in Barcelona's LaLiga clash with Eibar on Saturday.

Centre-back Umtiti is yet to feature this season and has been out for the past six weeks with a foot injury.

Meanwhile, versatile left-back Junior last featured in the 2-0 win over Getafe on September 28, scoring his first Barca goal, before a hamstring complaint.

Both players were named in Thursday's travelling squad and then took part in Friday's training session ahead of the early kick-off on Saturday.

The LaLiga champions, who are second in the table after three straight wins, confirmed the duo had been cleared to play.

Real Madrid have agreed with Barcelona's suggestion to move the first LaLiga Clasico of the season to December 18.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday that it had postponed the match at Camp Nou due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host Madrid, prompting the RFEF to intervene.

The Competition Committee has told the two clubs to agree to a revised date for the game before next Monday and Barca suggested December 18 as the best option.

In a statement released later on Friday, Madrid said: "In light of the Competition Committee ruling which postpones the match scheduled to be played on Saturday October 26 between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and states the clubs must agree a new date for the fixture, Real Madrid wishes to communicate that the date proposed by both said clubs is December 18."

Speaking earlier, head coach Zinedine Zidane said he was prepared to adapt to any plans to reschedule the fixture.

"If we have to play on the 26th, we will, and if we have to change, the important thing is to be prepared," he told a news conference.

"I know there is a lot of debate because it's logical, but my position as coach is this: to be ready on the date that the appropriate person tells us. We'll adapt.

"I have a preference but I'm not going to tell you. We know it could be the seventh, the eighteenth – we'll adapt to this."

December 18, a Wednesday, is seen by many as an appropriate date as neither Barca nor Madrid are involved in the planned Copa del Rey fixtures on that day.

LaLiga reportedly put forward December 7 as its preferred date, as it would keep the match on a Saturday, but this would require Barca's meeting with Real Mallorca and Madrid's game against Espanyol to be moved.

Barca and Madrid are also playing their final Champions League group games, away to Inter and Club Brugge respectively, within four days after December 7.

Barcelona have proposed rearranging the first Clasico of the season to December 18 after it was announced it will not take place next Saturday as planned.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Friday that it had postponed the match at Camp Nou due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host Madrid, prompting the RFEF to intervene.

The Competition Committee has told the two clubs to agree to a revised date for the game before next Monday and Barca have suggested December 18 as the best option.

"The club's desire was to play the Clasico at Camp Nou on the 26th, the date and time previously agreed and the Committee was informed of this in writing," they said in a statement on Friday.

"The club has the utmost confidence in the civic and pacific attitude of its members and fans who always express themselves in exemplary fashion at Camp Nou.

"Nevertheless, having received the decision of the RFEF Competition Committee to postpone the game citing 'exceptional circumstances' and given that it falls to the clubs to agree a new date for the game before Monday, the club will propose December 18.

"The club regrets the inconvenience that this postponement may cause to members, supporters' club members and fans and it has now begun the necessary steps to refund money from Monday 21 October for tickets already purchased."

Madrid have not yet responded publicly to Barca's suggestion but head coach Zinedine Zidane insists his squad will be ready to adapt to the revised schedule.

"I know you're all interested in this subject, but we're going to do what they [club officials] tell us," he told a news conference.

"If we have to play on the 26th, we will, and if we have to change, the important thing is to be prepared.

"I know there is a lot of debate because it's logical, but my position as coach is this: to be ready on the date that the appropriate person tells us. We'll adapt.

"I have a preference but I'm not going to tell you. We know it could be the seventh, the eighteenth – we'll adapt to this."

December 18, a Wednesday, is seen by many as an appropriate date as neither Barca nor Madrid are involved in the planned Copa del Rey fixtures for that date.

LaLiga has reportedly put forward December 7 as its preferred date, as it would keep the match on a Saturday, but this would require Barca's meeting with Real Mallorca and Madrid's game against Espanyol to be moved.

Barca and Madrid are also playing their final Champions League group games, away to Inter and Club Brugge respectively, within four days after December 7.

The first Clasico of the season between Barcelona and Real Madrid, originally scheduled for October 26, has been postponed amid political unrest in Catalonia, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

A rally in Barcelona has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca were due to host bitter rivals Madrid.

RFEF's Competition Committee assessed the situation in a meeting on Thursday and resolved to delay LaLiga's showpiece fixture.

The clubs have now been given until the 10:00am local time on Monday, October 21 to come to a consensus on a suitable date for the match to be held.

RFEF will assume responsibility for rescheduling the fixture if an agreement is not reached before the deadline.

Omnisport understands LaLiga had proposed the possibility of moving the game to Madrid's home stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu, but the committee ruled a reversal of the fixture order was prohibited by competition regulations.

Speaking before the announcement of the postponement, RFEF president Luis Rubiales said the Spanish government had not attempted to intervene in the decision-making process.

"Regarding the government, what I can say is that this is a matter of football, and it is the competition committee which has to decide," Rubiales said.

"So, the government hasn't contacted us or asked for one thing or another."

 

 

Samuel Eto'o believes he reached his peak as a player at Real Mallorca and is now looking to the club as a potential launch pad for his coaching career.

The former Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea striker retired from football in September following a glittering career spanning more than two decades.

He won the Champions League and LaLiga three times each after battling back from rejection at Real Madrid, who let a young Eto'o leave for Mallorca in 2000 following a successful loan spell.

Eto'o scored 54 goals in 128 games during his permanent spell with the Balearic Islands-based outfit, a period he regards as the best of his playing days.

"I reached my top level when at Mallorca," said the Cameroon great, who moved to Barca in 2004.

"We were a group of normal guys who had to compete against the great players at Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"But we did it very well, we were proud of defending our jersey and our island.

"At Barcelona it was about opening the eyes of the world, making it known that a kid coming from where I came from, when given the same opportunities as the others, could do well.

"It was tough at Mallorca but when I got to Barcelona I saw that we could not fail, we were a group of unbelievable players and we just had to win."

Further spells in England, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Qatar expanded Eto'o's horizons and list of contacts ahead of a move into management.

The 38-year-old has stated his desire to win the Champions League as a coach, but those big ambitions could have humble beginnings back at Mallorca, where his teenage son, Etienne, is on the books.

"Now I want to prepare for new challenges," Eto'o said.

"I love football, so I would like some day to be able to coach at the highest level. It could be my Mallorca or some other big team.

"I have had the fortune to win things as a player and I would like to do that again as a coach."

Mallorca, who finished as high as third in the top flight with Eto'o leading the line, won promotion back to LaLiga last season.

Vicente Moreno's men have collected two wins from eight games to sit 18th ahead of Saturday's home game against leaders Madrid.

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