Mauricio Pellegrino has agreed a new two-year contract with Leganes after leading the club to their highest LaLiga position.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has proved once again this season that he is the undisputed best player in the world, according to Brazilian great Rivaldo. 

Messi was voted fifth in the running for last season's Ballon d'Or, finishing behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modric. 

The Argentina international has been at his free-scoring best in 2018-19, however, netting 45 times in all competitions and setting up a further 12 goals for his team-mates in LaLiga alone. 

Rivaldo feels Messi is out in front in terms of being the world's best player at this moment in time and has backed the 31-year-old to win a sixth Ballon d'Or later this year. 

“For me, I would give him the Ballon d'Or today for what he's doing," Rivaldo told Spanish publication Sport. "Everything that he's doing is spectacular: the goals, the big games he steps up in. There's no other player like Messi this season."  

Messi's latest goals came in Barcelona's 3-0 win over Manchester United in Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg, where he scored twice to send the Spanish champions through 4-0 on aggregate. 

Philippe Coutinho was also on the scoresheet in midweek with an impressive curled finish past David de Gea, which he followed up with a fingers-in-the-ears celebration. 

That was seen as a direct response to his critics, having come under fire during his first full campaign at Camp Nou, and Rivaldo says the best way for his compatriot to win over supporters is to continue scoring goals. 

"Coutinho's a player I like a lot and who has to succeed at Barca," he added. "Coutinho scored a great goal. The [celebration] wasn't so good. In the moment you score a goal and with the criticism he's received... it was the heat of the moment.  

"If you asked him today, he would be more intelligent. They're things that happen in football and what's important is that he scores goals like that because that way the fans are happy with him." 

Celta Vigo have completed a coup in securing star striker Iago Aspas to a new four-year contract.

Aspas has been a revelation for Celta since returning from Sevilla in 2015 for a second spell, and the club have acknowledged his inspirational form this term by tying him down until 2023.

The forward's career looked to be at a crossroads when successive seasons at Liverpool and Sevilla saw him score just two league goals in 30 appearances.

But a move back to Celta – where he came through the academy – saw him find his form again, scoring 14 LaLiga goals in the 2015-16 campaign and 19 in 2016-17, when he also helped the club to the Europa League semi-finals.

Another 22 LaLiga goals followed last season, making him the top-scoring Spanish player in the division, a feat he looks set to repeat this year having found the net 15 times in 21 games.

But, more importantly, Aspas' form is proving crucial in Celta's battle to avoid relegation.

Since a six-week injury absence, Aspas has scored five goals in three matches, with Celta winning two of them and drawing the other.

Celta head into their final six LaLiga matches just a point ahead of the bottom three after losing 2-0 to Atletico Madrid on Saturday, but Aspas will return from suspension for this weekend's visit of Girona.

Achraf Hakimi has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a broken metatarsal in Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg at the weekend. 

The full-back – on loan from Real Madrid – came on as a substitute to replace the injured Abdou Diallo in the 49th minute but then had to be replaced himself with 16 minutes remaining. 

He will now miss the club's remaining Bundesliga fixtures – including Saturday's pivotal clash against title rivals Bayern Munich – and faces a race to be fit for Morocco's Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

Hakimi has featured 28 times for Lucien Favre's side in all competitions this term, scoring three goals.

The club also confirmed that Diallo suffered a muscle strain but have not specified how long he will be out of action.

Dortmund go into the game against Bayern two points ahead of their opponents after Niko Kovac's side drew 1-1 with Freiburg at the weekend.

Gareth Bale would be welcomed back to Tottenham should he choose to call time on his spell at Real Madrid, according to Spurs defender Ben Davies.

Speculation over Bale's future at Santiago Bernabeu has been rife during a season in which Madrid have struggled to cope following the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.

Bale dazzled at Tottenham before moving to Spain, and his Wales team-mate Davies said he would relish the chance to play alongside his country's leading scorer on a more regular basis.

"He's come under a bit of flak at Madrid recently, but for Wales he's always been brilliant," Davies told reporters ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia.

"I'm always going to say it's unfair, he is one of the best players in the world, we see it every day in training.

"I'd definitely have him at Tottenham. But I don't know how likely that is."

Wales beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in a friendly ahead of their clash with Slovakia, though Bale is not the only player to have impressed Davies during the international break. 

Ryan Giggs named David Brooks, Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn and Daniel James in his squad, with their quality leaving Davies optimistic about Wales' long-term future. 

"If you look at the options we've got now, we definitely have a lot more up there," said the defender. 

"In the past, we only had Gareth with that pace, but we're lucky to be blessed with it now. 

"It's a good position to be in as a squad, the younger players will want to show what they can do when they get the chance of a regular place – that's the competition you want." 

Zinedine Zidane says he is ready to bring Isco back in from the cold after the attacking midfielder was ostracised under previous Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari.

Isco made 30 LaLiga appearances in each of Zidane's previous two full terms in charge, but he has been restricted to only five starts in Spain's top flight this term.

Last week Solari appeared to question Isco's fitness and he was absent from the matchday squad when Madrid beat Real Valladolid last weekend amid reports he had skipped a pre-match team talk prior to the Champions League loss to Ajax.

On Friday, the 26-year-old was left out of Luis Enrique's Spain squad, yet his club future at least appears brighter after the returning Zidane vowed to include him in his plans.

"The players - even those who have played less - are training, but then a game is not the same as a workout," the Frenchman told reporters at a news conference to preview Saturday's clash with Celta Vigo.

"The good thing is that all players are good here. The important thing is that they are all ready. 

"There are 11 games left, and I will have everyone. I'm going to count on Isco and the others to the fullest."

According to reports, Madrid's hierarchy were considering sanctioning Isco after he also did not travel on the team's coach to the fixture against Ajax.

Zidane was asked about that possible club-imposed ban and insisted Isco's only focus is on playing.

"We are here to think football," he added.

"Isco wants to play and leave bans. We're going to play football and that's it."

With Madrid already out of the Champions League and 12 points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona with 11 games to go, Zidane seemingly faces a rebuilding job in the close-season.

Yet despite speculation over the future of players such as Gareth Bale and Marcelo, the Madrid boss stressed he does not see the end-of-season run-in as an audition for those who may be on their way out.

"I do not think about that," Zidane said.

"What I think about is finishing the season well, I'm not going to look at who's going to continue, who's going to stay. They have a contract and they have to think about finishing the season well."

Zinedine Zidane has returned to Real Madrid in place of Santiago Solari. But the Los Blancos he returns to has no Cristiano Ronaldo. Will that be a hindrance to his success?

Monday fixtures are to be axed from LaLiga's schedule from next season in an attempt to appease supporters, Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales confirmed.

Matches held on Mondays and Fridays have long been criticised by fans, predominantly due to perceived favouritism towards the bigger clubs who rarely have to play on those days because they are involved in European competitions.

As such, playing on Monday of Friday has almost become the norm for some clubs, with Athletic Bilbao playing eight of their 25 LaLiga games this term right at the start of the week.

Deportivo Alaves supporters have arguably been the most vocal, however, staging numerous protests, including a mock funeral for the apparent "death of modern football" during a game against Levante last month.

The fan discontent has seemingly worked, with Rubiales confirming Monday matches are to be ended from next season, and he even hinted Friday games could also become a thing of the past too.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Rubiales said: "There will be no more football on Monday.

"From next season in LaLiga there will be football Saturdays and Sundays. We will see what happens with Fridays, if we reach a good agreement for all. Business is important, but fans are more so."

Lionel Messi will be aiming to avoid a run of four consecutive draws for the first time in his career, when Barcelona take on Real Valladolid.

Ernesto Valverde is convinced the officials made the correct decision in allowing Luis Suarez's goal to stand despite Leganes' protests in Barcelona's 3-1 win on Sunday.

Ousmane Dembele will have tests to determine the severity of his sprained left ankle after sustaining the injury in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Leganes on Sunday.

Lionel Messi played an important role off the bench with an assist for Luis Suarez before scoring himself as Barcelona secured a 3-1 win over Leganes at Camp Nou.

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde rested Lionel Messi for his side's LaLiga clash with Leganes, naming the club's leading goal-scorer among the substitutes.

Luis Garcia Plaza has been appointed as Villarreal's new head coach until the end of the season following the sacking of Javi Calleja.

Villarreal parted company with Calleja on the back of Saturday's 3-2 loss to Celta Vigo which left them three points above LaLiga's relegation zone.

Garcia Plaza coached the club's B side in 2005-06 and has since held senior roles at Levante and Getafe, as well as spending time with Beijing Renhe in the Chinese Super League.

Villarreal are back in action on Thursday with a home match against Spartak Moscow in the Europa League, with Group G still wide open ahead of the final matchday.

Calleja was given his marching orders by Villarreal 15 months after being placed in charge. He guided them to a fifth-place finish in his first campaign, but three wins from 15 this term has left the club facing a relegation battle.

Cristiano Ronaldo has described Juventus as "more of a family" than Real Madrid and has praised his new team-mates' humility.

The 33-year-old swapped the Spanish capital for Turin in July, claiming he left Madrid after nine years because he no longer felt as valued as he did when he arrived in 2009.

Ronaldo has helped Serie A champions Juve open up an eight-point lead at the top of the table after 15 games of this season, while they have already qualified for the Champions League's last 16 too.

Having scored 11 goals already, Ronaldo has adapted quickly to life at Juventus and he has credited the Bianconeri's environment for that.

"It isn't right to name someone specific but I can say that this is the best group in which I've played," Ronaldo said in an interview with Italian newspapers.

"Here, we are a squad, elsewhere, some players feel bigger than the others. Instead, here, everyone is on the same level, they are humble and want to win.

"If [Paulo] Dybala or [Mario] Mandzukic don't score, they are still happy and you see them smile.

"For me, it is beautiful, to feel that difference. Also at Madrid they are humble, but here I feel that sense more.

"It's very different to Madrid, here it is more of a family."

Ronaldo won the Champions League four times with Madrid, having also been part of Manchester United's victorious team in 2007-08.

Juventus have not won the competition since 1995-96 and their fans are hopeful that Ronaldo's arrival can end their wait to lift the trophy again.

However, the forward has warned that the club cannot become obsessed with the Champions League like Real Madrid did when they were seeking 'La Decima' between 2002 and 2014.

"The 10th was a huge obsession, but the moment you can win is when you relax mentally.," Ronaldo added.

"Yes, we all want it, but we have to get it step by step. Look at the game with [Manchester] United [which Juventus lost 2-1], if it was a quarter-final we would have come out.

"We need a little luck, the right moment, the details."

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