Deportivo Alaves have appointed Asier Garitano as their new head coach following the departure of Abelardo.

Abelardo left the club on Monday after a run of just one win in their last 10 LaLiga matches of the season ended their hopes of an unlikely Champions League qualification place.  

They ultimately finished 11th and Abelardo decided the time was right to part ways, insisting in his farewell media conference that the club did everything they could to keep him.

They have moved quickly to name a replacement, though, appointing former Real Sociedad coach Garitano.

The 49-year-old took charge of Leganes in 2013, guiding them from the third tier of Spanish football to La Liga for the first time ever.

He then joined Real Sociedad at the start of the 2018-19 campaign but was dismissed in December after a run of four consecutive defeats.

France head coach Didier Deschamps is happy to give Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba his opinion on their futures but has warned them to be sure they make the right choice for their careers.

Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann confirmed last week that he intends to leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, despite only agreeing a new five-year contract last year.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid after a largely difficult season with Manchester United.

Deschamps – who has named both players in his squad for a friendly against Bolivia and subsequent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra next month – will give them his view but is keen for them not to come to regret their decisions.

"Players are making choices, I'm not there to advise them," he told a media conference.

"I'm here to give them my opinion, but it's about them. It depends on their career, people and family.

"Most of them ask for my opinion. They can use it or not; it's not my choice.

"What matters is that when they decide something important, they think it is the correct choice. But sometimes you think, 'yes it's a good choice to join that club' and then it's not. It's easy to say after the fact. It goes well or badly."

Despite criticism of Pogba's form towards the end of the campaign, he ended 2018-19 with 13 Premier League goals and a further nine assists – more than any of his United team-mates managed – and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

Deschamps believes people are too quick to find faults in the 26-year-old's game and says he brings a lot more than just goals.

"I hope you're watching all his games in the Premier League," he added. "We see Paul when he scores and gives assists, but Paul is not just about that. With us, he scores fewer goals, but he was and still is very important.

"A season lasts 10 months and players can't be at their peak all the time. With France, he knows I'm asking him different things because we have a team, and he's doing it very well."

Antoine Griezmann's decision to turn down a move to Barcelona last year "hurt" the club, according to Xavi.

Griezmann was strongly linked with signing for Barca after the 2017-18 season but he eventually announced in a televised documentary he would stay at Atletico Madrid.

However, after Barca held off Atleti to defend their LaLiga crown, France forward Griezmann confirmed his intention to leave the Madrid club after five years.

Barca are reportedly again front-runners for his signature, though head coach Ernesto Valverde has refused to discuss how Griezmann could fit into a forward line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

And Xavi, who won eight LaLiga titles at Barca and made his last professional appearance for Al-Sadd before hanging up his boots this week, hinted there may be leftover bad feeling at Camp Nou over Griezmann's previous rejection of a move.

"I understand it hurt what he did last summer," Xavi said to Sport. "If the reason for the rejection [from Barca players] was only a footballing issue, I'd speak with the dressing room to make them see he's a player who can bring something.

"We have to see, however, who is signing him? The sporting director? Valverde? The president? If I came to Barca I would ask for the signings, and if the dressing room doesn't agree with any of them I'd speak with them, but in the end I decide. Be it Griezmann or whoever.

"Another thing would be if the coach doesn't want him either. Then we have a problem."

Barca have given Valverde their backing despite their latest Champions League disappointment, with Xavi making his ambitions to coach at Camp Nou clear.

"If one day I come back to Barcelona it's all a consequence of knowing that I will be judged," he added.

"Everyone wants to be at a big team. It would be more comfortable to go to a second division club but I'm competitive and I like big challenges.

"I know what will come, I will go bald or my hair will turn white, but it is what it is."

Messi made it clear the Champions League was Barca's top priority in 2018-19 but he was unable to add to the four European titles he has won at the club.

"That's more than a few, we only had one before," Messi's former team-mate Xavi said. "We were able to win more but it's hard to win the Champions League.

"[Pep] Guardiola's Barca were better than the rest of the teams and we only won two of four. Chelsea and Inter knocked us out. But be calm, Messi's not finished yet.

"We always talk about the post-Messi era, but Leo has three or four good years left. At the top level, like now, because he looks after himself, he's incredibly professional, he's physically strong, a beast mentally. He's the number one at everything."

Gareth Bale has been included in a Wales training squad by Ryan Giggs amid speculation over his Real Madrid future.

Zinedine Zidane left Bale unused on the bench as Madrid ended their LaLiga season with a 2-0 home defeat against Real Betis on Sunday.

Bale has played a bit-part role since Zidane returned to the club and his time at the Santiago Bernabeu looks to be coming to an end.

Manchester United have long been linked with a move for Bale, whose agent Jonathan Barnett has said a Premier League return is possible.

Before a close-season break, Bale will link up with his international colleagues ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers versus Croatia and Hungary.

Aaron Ramsey and Ethan Ampadu are unavailable due to injury, while Ben Davies and Ben Woodburn are absent due to their sides - Tottenham and Liverpool - preparing to play the Champions League final on June 1.

After spending six days at the training camp Giggs will confirm a squad to face Croatia and Hungary on May 29.

Drawn in Group E, Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales made a winning start to their campaign with a home defeat of Slovakia in March.

Osasuna's return to LaLiga has been confirmed due to Albacate's defeat at home to Granada.

Jagoba Arrasate's men moved to the brink of promotion with Sunday's 0-0 draw away to Cadiz.

And, when Albacete went down 1-0 against Granada a day later, Osasuna's top-two finish was secured.

"We are very happy, I think we are here on our own merits," captain Roberto Torres said to El Larguero. 

"We will give more value [to the achievement] in the days [to come]. The season has been beautiful and I think it is a beautiful moment at this time.

"We knew what could happen [when Albacete played Granada], we were aware that it could be a beautiful day."

Granada are highly likely to follow Osasuna into LaLiga as they are six points clear of third-placed Albacete, with three games remaining in the Segunda Division season.

Arrasate's team could secure the title this weekend when they entertain Las Palmas, holding a four-point lead over Granada.

Osasuna were relegated after coming 19th in LaLiga in 2016-17 and could only manage eighth in the second tier last time around.

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Unai Emery said Kylian Mbappe wanted to join Real Madrid before the French giants eventually persuaded the forward to stay.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga side Madrid after the PSG star fuelled speculation over his future by hinting it could be time for a "new project".

Ligue 1 champions PSG dismissed Mbappe's comments, insisting the 20-year-old World Cup-winning sensation will remain in Paris.

However, Arsenal boss Emery revealed the desire Mbappe had to sign for Madrid during his time at PSG, which came to an end following the 2017-18 season.

"At some point, everyone pushed at PSG," Emery told Cadena SER. "I even talked to him and his father to stay.

"He wanted to choose Real Madrid, he also had a chance at Barcelona, but he wanted Madrid eyes closed.

"Among everybody we convinced him about the project in France and made him stay. We had to set money over the table, and that's what we did."

Mbappe joined PSG in a loan move from Monaco, which became permanent for a €180million fee, in August 2017.

Since then Mbappe has scored 59 goals in all competitions, netting 32 so far in Ligue 1 this season.

Emery, meanwhile, won seven titles – including the 2018 Ligue 1 trophy – in two years at PSG before he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.

Highly rated coach Abelardo has decided to leave Deportivo Alaves.

Abelardo replaced Gianni De Biasi in December 2017 and comfortably steered the club to safety, winning three of their final five matches of the season.

Alaves built on that with a remarkable start to 2018-19 and spent most of the campaign in the running for a top-four finish.

As recently as April 4 they were fifth in the table, but a run of just one win in their last 10 LaLiga matches ultimately saw them slide.

In the end Alaves finished 11th and Abelardo has decided the time is right to part ways, insisting in his farewell news conference on Monday the club did everything they could to keep him.

"This club's fans are fantastic; they are the main driving force behind the club and I will always keep them close to my heart," he said.

"I am bowing out with my head held high, knowing that we have achieved great things together and that is testament to this club's never-say-die attitude."

Abelardo has been linked with potentially taking over as Spain coach on a temporary basis as Luis Enrique continues a family related absence, but the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) denied such an arrangement was possible.

He has also been tentatively suggested as a potential target for Real Betis, who confirmed the departure of coach Quique Setien on Sunday.

Toni Kroos does not believe he will have any problems keeping his place at Real Madrid even if Paul Pogba arrives at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite being linked with a move away from the club, Kroos signed a contract extension with Madrid until 2023 on Monday.

After finishing 19 points adrift of Barcelona in LaLiga and failing to win another trophy following their FIFA Club World Cup triumph in December, Zinedine Zidane is expected to overhaul the Madrid squad.

Manchester United midfielder Pogba has long since been viewed as a likely target for Madrid and has made no secret of his admiration for Los Blancos.

Madrid are also expected to make a push to sign Eden Hazard, while Kylian Mbappe's comments that he wants more responsibility either at Paris Saint-Germain or "elsewhere" have fuelled talk of a move for the World Cup winner.

Asked about what impact Pogba's potential arrival could have on his place in the Madrid engine room, Kroos told a media conference: "That doesn't change anything for me.

"I've fought for my place, played well, I don't think I'll have any problems to play.

"I don't know who's going to go, I don't know who's going to come. I've spoken to the manager, I know what his idea is. I'm going to be important, I can't say anything else.

"I don't know how many changes there are going to be. I've never had any doubts about my future. I want to be here always, and I've always said that."

On the subject of the speculation surrounding Mbappe, Kroos said: "I like Mbappe as a player but that question's not for me really. I can't buy him, I've got a good contract but I can't buy him. That's a question for the club."

Kroos has previously expressed a desire to end his career at Madrid and that seemingly remains his ambition, the Germany midfielder confident he can still produce his best for the length of his new contract.

"Many times, after the game against Ajax for example, I admitted that I wasn't at my level, I've got no problem to say that," said Kroos.

"I really want to improve how I played but before I played four years consistently well, this year I played worse than the four years before that's true. I'm still the same player, 29 years of age, and I still have three or four years at the top level I'm sure.

"The idea is to practically finish my career here, at age 38 I don't think I'll still be playing. The idea is this will be my last long contract here."

Toni Kroos insists Real Madrid's apparently underwhelming season was in fact "normal" in comparison to their three Champions League triumphs in succession. 

Though Madrid prevailed in the FIFA Club World Cup, Los Blancos claimed no other silverware in a campaign that saw brief reigns for Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari before Zinedine Zidane returned having left in the wake of last season's Champions League victory.

A 2-0 defeat to Real Betis on the final day of the season ensured Madrid finished 19 points behind champions Barcelona in LaLiga, having been knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League by Ajax, while Barca dumped them out of the Copa del Rey in the semi-finals.

But Kroos signed a new deal on Monday and says he had no issues committing his future to the club despite their struggles this term. 

"For me this renewal is special for me, it's a good sign from the club, I've got a very special relationship with the club," said the Germany international, who committed to Madrid until 2023. 

"Since the first day the club have had a lot of confidence in me, I've helped the club to win a lot of titles. Together we're going to try to achieve a lot more success. If I had doubts about my future I wouldn't be here today.

"This year I don't think any player really reached their top level. When that happens in a lot of players it's difficult to have success. We're all human beings. This is probably normal after winning three successive Champions Leagues.

"What's not normal is winning three successive Champions Leagues. I thought that was impossible, but we did it. It's probably a bit normal to not be at the highest level.

"The club's going to change things, I'm happy to be here for another four years and I'm sure we're going to have success together.

"When I see the semi-finals of the Champions League, the English clubs gave everything to come to this final, there you could see how difficult it is to win three times in a row this competition.

"The only thing we can do is to prepare for the next season, then we'll see how it's going. I'm still happy here not only when we things, but I'm still happy to improve again and that's what we're going to do."

In contrast to the success he has enjoyed in the Champions League, Kroos has won LaLiga just once in his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Explaining their domestic difficulties, Kroos added: "We've lacked consistency in the league the last couple of years.

"In previous years we've been at maximum level when we've had to be at maximum level, to do that for 38 games is difficult, we have to improve a lot."

Real Madrid seem certain to spend heavily to boost Zinedine Zidane's squad and try to close the growing gap to LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

Zidane has indicated he will not be afraid to overhaul an ageing team that ended the campaign third, 19 points behind Barca, after a 2-0 home loss to Real Betis on Sunday.

Gareth Bale was an unused substitute against Betis, with his future seemingly certain to be away from the Santiago Bernabeu, while goalkeeper Keylor Navas is also expected to leave.

But how could Madrid's squad look ahead of the 2019-20 season? Omnisport takes a look at the likely arrivals and departures for Los Blancos.

IN: Eder Militao, Luka Jovic, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Neymar, Eden Hazard?

Madrid have already sealed a deal for Porto centre-back Militao, boosting an increasingly leaky defence that shipped 46 league goals last term. Reports in Germany have claimed Jovic will soon follow, with the Serbia striker - previously linked with Barcelona - set to leave Eintracht Frankfurt despite only completing his permanent transfer from Benfica earlier this year.

Former coach Fabio Capello has said Madrid have €500million to spend, so Zidane can afford to be ambitious with his targets. Pogba has long been linked with the club and despite being Manchester United's top goalscorer in the Premier League this term, he could be allowed to leave.

Mbappe would be a classic Madrid 'Galactico' signing and he signalled he would be open to leaving Paris Saint-Germain when he collected both the Ligue 1 Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year prizes at the National Union of Professional Footballers' awards on Sunday. Mbappe would likely cost a world-record fee, with Neymar another top-tier player potentially on the move.

The former Barca attacker has reportedly failed to settle in the French capital and he could be Madrid's next superstar after last year's surprise sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, but Madrid's long-term interest in Eden Hazard - who has a year left on his Chelsea contract - may scupper a potential deal for the Brazil star.

Even with a vast amount of cash to splash, it is hard to see Madrid bringing in four new attackers in Hazard, Jovic, Mbappe and Neymar, while PSG - regardless of doubts over their financial situation - would surely not allow both of their forwards to leave in the same transfer window.


OUT: Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas, Isco, Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric?

The level of spending at Madrid during the close-season will partly depend on who they can sell, with Bale a prime candidate to be moved on. Zidane's lack of trust in the Wales forward is no secret, even though Bale scored twice in last year's Champions League final defeat of Liverpool in Kiev. Bale cost what was then a world record £85m when he joined from Tottenham but his huge wages, coupled with a short list of potential suitors, could be a problem. Reports in Spain have indicated Bale is willing to see out the remaining three years of his contract.

Another key member of the Madrid team that won three Champions League titles in a row in Zidane's first spell, goalkeeper Navas is expected to be sold after last year's arrival of Thibaut Courtois, with the current boss said to be keen to make son Luca his number two option with the gloves.

Isco seemed certain to depart when he was out of favour before Santiago Solari's sacking, while Marcelo could also be allowed to leave due to the breakthrough season enjoyed by left-back Sergio Reguilon. But Toni Kroos is staying put after signing a new four-year deal with the club. PSG were linked with a treble swoop for Kroos, Isco and Bale, so the latter two players could be used as potential makeweights in a deal for either Mbappe or Neymar.

At the back, Zidane has said Raphael Varane will stay but with Juventus reported to be interested in the World Cup winner, a big offer could tempt Madrid to sell. Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric, meanwhile, was previously linked with Inter and had a poor second half of the season.

 

@realmadrid #TeamVarane pic.twitter.com/YiwSQlq8tp

— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) May 17, 2019

POTENTIAL MADRID XI FOR 2019-20

Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao, Marcelo; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard.

Barcelona have confirmed Nelson Semedo did not suffer a concussion in their last LaLiga game of the season against Getafe.

Semedo was taken to hospital with a head injury that appeared to have put his chances of being fit for Saturday's Copa del Rey final in doubt.

But Barcelona confirmed on Monday that right-back Semedo has been cleared following tests and released from a hospital in Bilbao.

"Semedo has passed the tests for his head injury and has been discharged from hospital," a club statement said. 

"He returns to Barcelona to continue with the protocol established in these cases and his return to training will be monitored."

Head coach Ernesto Valverde is seeking to win the LaLiga and Copa del Rey double for the second season in a row when Barca face Valencia in Seville.

Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are unlikely to be available due to hamstring injuries, while Arthur is another doubt.

The possibility of Gareth Bale remaining at Real Madrid is "impossible" because of his relationship with Zinedine Zidane, according to the club's former president Ramon Calderon.

Bale was an unused substitute as Madrid wrapped up a poor LaLiga campaign with a 2-0 loss at home to Real Betis on Sunday.

The Wales forward scored a brace to help deliver Zidane's third consecutive Champions League title at Madrid a year ago, but his days at the club now look numbered.

Calderon indicated Zidane would have preferred to have sold Bale rather than Cristiano Ronaldo, a club decision widely reported to be central to the Frenchman's shock resignation after they beat Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev.

Bale has played a bit-part role since Zidane's return in March and Calderon feels it is inevitable the 29-year-old will now depart.

"Zidane is not keen on him; it is a relationship that will come to an end," Calderon told BBC Sport.

"It seems it was his last game for Real Madrid. Zidane, last year when he left, he thought it was imperative to keep Ronaldo and to sell Bale, and they decided not to do that.

"It seems it is impossible for him to be here... because of the coach and the relationship with the fans. They think he is not committed and that is a problem.

"The best thing for him is to move. He should take the opportunity if there is one."

 

Bale's possible destinations are limited by his high wages, however, with Calderon predicting Madrid will have to take a financial hit on a player they bought for what was then a world-record £85million in 2013.

"Maybe he will go on loan," Calderon added. "It is a problem when the coach and player do not get along, you have to look at every option to find a solution.

"The problem is the salary is a high salary. He has not been lucky at Madrid since the beginning. Fans thought for the money he would be better than Cristiano and that was really impossible.

"It is a divorce that is difficult to solve. They will find a loan or a transfer for perhaps a low amount of money."

Madrid are likely to be linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe after he hinted he was considering leaving the Ligue 1 champions on Sunday.

Toni Kroos has agreed to extend his contract with Real Madrid to 2023, the LaLiga club have confirmed.

The midfielder's future at Madrid had been in doubt with head coach Zinedine Zidane last month refusing to confirm the Germany international would stay amid an expected squad overhaul.

But Kroos hit out at reports in the Spanish press that said he was seeking a move away, describing the news as "absolutely false information" on Twitter.

And the 29-year-old, who joined from Bayern Munich in 2014, has now agreed a new four-year contract that will keep him at the club until 2023. His previous deal was due to expire in 2022.

Kroos has appeared in 28 LaLiga games this season and was a key part of the side that won three consecutive Champions League titles in Zidane's first spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.

He also helped Germany to clinch the World Cup in 2014 and has won four league titles and five Club World Cups across his career to date.

Madrid wrapped up their underwhelming LaLiga campaign with a 2-0 loss at home to Real Betis on Sunday.

It is expected to be a close-season of upheaval in the Spanish capital as Madrid look to improve after finishing third in the league, 19 points behind rivals Barcelona, who retained their title.

Long-serving goalkeeper Keylor Navas will go, Marcelo and Isco could follow while the future of Gareth Bale remains uncertain.

Porto defender Eder Militao has already agreed to join ahead of the 2019-20 season while reports in Germany have claimed a deal for Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic is close.

Paul Pogba and Neymar are among the names linked with Madrid while Kylian Mbappe's shock announcement he could leave Paris Saint-Germain may place him in Zidane's sights.

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin said the LaLiga club need "players totally committed" and ensured those who have "abandoned" the team will be replaced by quality amid Antoine Griezmann's plans to leave.

Griezmann will depart Atletico after five years, with the France international and World Cup winner linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona, having turned down a move to Camp Nou last year.

It is set to be a busy off-season for Atletico, who will lose captain Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez and Griezmann, while there is uncertainty over Rodri, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Diego Costa.

And CEO Gil Marin called on the squad to step up next season amid a period of change, with Atletico coming off a runners-up finish in LaLiga this term.

"[We need] players totally committed to the project, in which the group is above any individuals, as we aim to compete at the highest level as we have been doing all these years," Gil Marin said via the club's website.

"Players who have abandoned our club will be replaced by players of the maximum level in order to continue competing and achieving the club's objectives.

"It is important that some players who have been in the shadow of the dressing room take a step forward and assume a leading role.

"Those who arrive will have to adapt quickly to the way we understand football.

"We need our group to be made up of players who want to be here and feel proud of wearing this shirt and this should weigh more than the ambition to earn more money."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is not optimistic about having Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele available for the Copa del Rey final.

LaLiga champions Barca face Valencia in the May 25 showpiece, hoping to end the season with a domestic double.

But Coutinho and Dembele appear to be in serious danger of missing the game, having sat out Sunday's 2-2 draw away to Eibar in Barca's final league fixture of the season.

Coutinho suffered a hamstring strain in the 2-0 win over Getafe on May 12, while Dembele sustained a similar issue at the start of the month.

They may now miss the Copa final, though Valverde does expect to have goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen back after a minor knee injury.

"We've got a few issues in certain positions and we're going to see if we can get a few players back," the coach told reporters in his post-match news conference.

"Ter Stegen will certainly be available. Coutinho, I don't know and Dembele is looking unlikely. Let's see about Arthur.

"He's had a problem for two to three months and he needed a break. It could have happened a month or so ago, but it's happened now. I don't know if he'll be available."

Barca lost Nelson Semedo to a head injury at Ipurua and the Portuguese full-back was taken to hospital, but Valverde is hopeful he will be completely fine.

"I don't have any news about Nelson," Valverde added. "We hope it's only a precaution for the knock."

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