Raphael Varane has ended speculation over his future after insisting he will still be at Real Madrid next season.

Varane, 26, had been linked to the likes of Manchester United and Juventus after eight seasons with the LaLiga giants.

Like many of his team-mates, the France international has endured a difficult 2018-19, which resulted in Los Blancos finishing third in the table – a whopping 19 points behind champions Barcelona.

Varane, though, is adamant that he will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu as Zinedine Zidane looks to reverse the club's faltering fortunes.

"I'm going to stay here next year; I'm sure we're going to relive strong emotions,” Varane told Marca.

"We have fought, we have tried hard and we cannot blame anything in particular but it is true that we missed that spark in the difficult moments.

"In football you have cycles and last season I was not at my best level, but we will see the best Varane again.

"We have to evolve and Zinedine Zidane is clear about it: we have to rebuild, and we have to change things."

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."

Didier Deschamps says his future remains with France amid speculation he is wanted as the next Juventus head coach.

The Serie A champions have begun searching for a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri, after it was announced he will leave at the end of the season.

Deschamps, who led France to World Cup glory in Russia last year, is reportedly among the contenders for the role.

But at a news conference on Tuesday, the 50-year-old dismissed speculation he could return to Juve, where he was in charge for the 2006-07 season.

"It's a kind question... What am I going to say?" Deschamps told reporters.

"The situation is clear today: my mind, my energy is focused on qualifying for the Euros, and I hope France will play in that Euros.

"It's very clear, even if it's always nice to hear that big clubs are talking about me, and Juventus are among them.

"But my near future is the French team. There are no doors to open - it's crystal clear."

Kylian Mbappe's future has also been making headlines after the France striker hinted he was considering leaving Paris-Saint Germain.

Mbappe was reportedly a target for Real Madrid a year ago and the 20-year-old is again being linked with the LaLiga giants after suggesting he was keen on a "new project".

"Surprised… In today's world, nothing surprises me," Deschamps said when asked about Mbappe's comments. "Information is leaking all the time.

"I'm not used to commenting on what players are saying, whether they are in my team or not. I'll have a chance to talk to Kylian, as happened during our previous gatherings and like I do with other players.

"It is what it is: one day it's him, one day it's someone else. Of course, when it's Kylian, it becomes bigger and more important."

Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt has suggested he could join team-mate Frenkie de Jong in signing for Barcelona.

De Jong's €75million switch to Barca for 2019-20 was confirmed earlier in the year, with De Ligt reportedly close to following his fellow Netherlands international to the Catalan club.

Both players thrived as Ajax thrilled the football world in their run to the Champions League semi-finals, where Erik ten Hag's side were denied a place in the final in by Tottenham despite having led 3-0 on aggregate with 45 minutes to play.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are also reportedly interested in the 19-year-old defender, but De Ligt has suggested his future could be at Camp Nou with De Jong.

"I think he had a great season. He deserves to sign for Barcelona," De Ligt said of De Jong.

"Play with him there? It would be good to play with Frenkie at a club, but in these moments I don't know what will happen."

Ajax have completed the signing of defender Lisandro Martinez from Defensa y Justicia, which could pave the way for De Ligt's sale.

The Argentina international signed a four-year deal on Monday, with sporting director Marc Overmars hailing the 21-year-old's potential.

"Martinez is a left-footed player who can handle multiple positions at the back. He is a defender who wants to play football," Overmars told Ajax's website.

"He brings a certain mentality that we can use well here, comparable to what his countryman Nico Tagliafico shows here.

"And Lisandro is still young, so we expect him to continue in the coming years to be an even better player."

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."

Borussia Dortmund have announced the signing of Nico Schulz from fellow Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for a reported €25million fee.

Dortmund fell short in their bid to unseat Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich but have moved quickly to add to their squad for 2019-20.

Schulz has broken into the Germany team since swapping Borussia Monchengladbach for Hoffenheim in 2017 and feels joining Dortmund is a natural next step.

"Borussia Dortmund are a top club whose team plays a football that simply suits me and my style, and I think I can help the team with my way of playing and we can achieve great things together," he told Dortmund's official website.

Schulz, 26, will be reunited with a familiar face in Dortmund as he played under head coach Lucien Favre at Gladbach.

"Nico Schulz is a defensive player who has made another leap in performance over the past few years and, like the German national football team, we will benefit greatly from his physique, his pace and his extreme dynamism," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added.

Schulz becomes the third biggest sale in Hoffenheim's history, although neither club disclosed the fee, behind Roberto Firmino and Kerem Demirbay who joined Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen respectively.

"Even though we agreed to the transfer at the end after weighing all the circumstances, of course we regret the loss of Nico," said Hoffenheim's director of football, Alexander Rosen.

"He has made a sensational development in just two years and is symbolic of the way players can improve at TSG."

Schulz, meanwhile, is grateful for the part Hoffenheim have played in his rise over the past two seasons.

"I know very well what I owe to TSG Hoffenheim, the people here in the club, the coaching staff, the fans and my team-mates," he told the club's official website.

"That's why I've been thinking about the change for a long time and, now I've chosen this path, I'm grateful to TSG for agreeing to the transfer."

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.

Peter Bosz believes there is a better chance of both Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz remaining at Bayer Leverkusen after they sealed Champions League football for next season.

The talented duo have been linked with moves away from the BayArena, with Champions League finalists Liverpool and Tottenham among those rumoured to be interested in Brandt in particular.

Leverkusen clinched fourth spot in the Bundesliga last weekend, thumping Hertha Berlin 5-1 as Borussia Monchengladbach lost to Borussia Dortmund.

"Yes, it's a better chance [of Leverkusen keeping both players]," Leverkusen coach Bosz told Bayer 04 TV.  

"I don't know. Kai will stay, for sure. And Julian, I hope he will stay. Every player wants to play at the highest level and we have the chance next season to play at the highest level.

"We're looking forward to it. Not only in the Champions League but also the Bundesliga.

"Our goal will be to be better than this season and therefore we have to work harder than this season and be more clear about how we want to play. It's a big achievement."

Havertz scored 20 goals in all competitions at club level this season and Bosz added of the teenager: "He definitely has something special. Particularly as he is just 19 years old. It's very unusual to see performances like that at that age.

"He played incredibly well in the last few games. But even Kai obviously has something to learn although he's is very aware of where he can improve.

"The lad will definitely improve as he has this season in terms of posing a significantly bigger threat on goal than before.

"On that point, he's mostly scored the really important opening goals. But Kai will also have to overcome lows in his career. For example, he didn't really do very well at the beginning of the second half of the season.

"When we spoke about that he taught me a new German word. He said he'd been 'schlampig' [sloppy] in many situations."

Peter Bosz believes there is a better chance of both Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz remaining at Bayer Leverkusen after they sealed Champions League football for next season.

The talented duo have been linked with moves away from the BayArena, with Champions League finalists Liverpool and Tottenham among those rumoured to be interested in Brandt in particular.

Leverkusen clinched fourth spot in the Bundesliga last weekend, thumping Hertha Berlin 5-1 as Borussia Monchengladbach lost to Borussia Dortmund.

"Yes, it's a better chance [of Leverkusen keeping both players]," Leverkusen coach Bosz told Bayer 04 TV.  

"I don't know. Kai will stay, for sure. And Julian, I hope he will stay. Every player wants to play at the highest level and we have the chance next season to play at the highest level.

"We're looking forward to it. Not only in the Champions League but also the Bundesliga.

"Our goal will be to be better than this season and therefore we have to work harder than this season and be more clear about how we want to play. It's a big achievement."

Havertz scored 20 goals in all competitions at club level this season and Bosz added of the teenager: "He definitely has something special. Particularly as he is just 19 years old. It's very unusual to see performances like that at that age.

"He played incredibly well in the last few games. But even Kai obviously has something to learn although he's is very aware of where he can improve.

"The lad will definitely improve as he has this season in terms of posing a significantly bigger threat on goal than before.

"On that point, he's mostly scored the really important opening goals. But Kai will also have to overcome lows in his career. For example, he didn't really do very well at the beginning of the second half of the season.

"When we spoke about that he taught me a new German word. He said he'd been 'schlampig' [sloppy] in many situations."

Kylian Mbappe will remain at Paris Saint-Germain next season, the Ligue 1 champions have insisted after the forward's recent comments fuelled speculation over his future at the club.

Speaking after being named Ligue 1's Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year on Sunday, Mbappe said: "It is maybe the moment to have more responsibilities, maybe at PSG, with pleasure, or elsewhere for a new project. In any case, thanks everyone."

The World Cup-winning star has been linked with a switch to Real Madrid, but PSG moved to quash those rumours in a statement released on Twitter.

"Strong links united PSG and Kylian Mbappe for two years. And our story will continue next season," the statement read.

"We have the same ambition, we want to make history in European football, especially on the 50th birthday of PSG. It will be a great moment to write a new part of our club's history together.

"Everyone will take part in it and it will always be for the good of the group."

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

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

His goals have been unable to help them deliver Champions League glory, however, with PSG suffering a humiliating turnaround at the hands of Manchester United in the last 16 this season.

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."

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.

Ilkay Gundogan is ready to reopen contracts talks with Manchester City after their historic domestic treble.

Watford were thrashed 6-0 at Wembley on Saturday as City became the first English men's team to complete a clean sweep, adding the FA Cup to their Premier League and EFL Cup titles.

Gundogan is heading into the final year of his contract at the club, who also won the Community Shield at the start of the season.

The Germany international has enjoyed extra responsibility under Pep Guardiola this season, making 31 Premier League appearances, partly down to injury issues for Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne.

City have already lost Vincent Kompany after the club captain left to take a player-manager role at Anderlecht but Gundogan suggested he will stay at the Etihad Stadium.

"Now is enough time to reflect on the situation and to take up the talks again more intensely with the club," he told Bild of his contract situation.

While City made history domestically, Guardiola has acknowledged his time at the club will be judged by European success.

And his side fell short again in their bid for a Champions League crown as they were knocked out by Premier League rivals Tottenham in stunning fashion.

"The exit in Europe was extremely bitter," Gundogan said of the quarter-final defeat. "But it would be wrong to mourn the Champions League after our domestic success.

"If I can wish for something at club level for my future, then it is definitely to win the Champions League.”

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."

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe sensationally hinted at a move away from the French champions on Sunday. 

Mbappe has been linked with a blockbuster transfer to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, though the 20-year-old France international reassured fans last month that he would stay in Paris.

However, Mbappe cast doubt over his future after being crowned Ligue 1's Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year.

"This was the only title that I was missing. I am truly very happy," Mbappe – who has scored 32 Ligue 1 goals this season – said as he received the award.

"I want to thank all of the people who put together this league. I succeeded in adapting in my first year, to change position this year.

"There were some disappointments, but that is part of football. This is a very important moment for me.

"I am arriving at the second turning point in my career. I have discovered an enormous amount of things here.

"It is maybe the moment to have more responsibilities, maybe at PSG, with pleasure, or elsewhere for a new project. In any case, thanks everyone."

Mbappe, who has won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles since arriving from Monaco, later added: "I said what I had to say. When you are in such an occasion you can send messages, I think I have sent mine.

"If I speak more it will be too much and that is not the message I wish to send."

World Cup winner Mbappe's two-goal haul in Saturday's 4-0 rout of Dijon saw him become the first Frenchman to score 32 league goals in a Ligue 1 season since Philippe Gondet did so for Nantes in 1965-66.

In total, Mbappe has netted 38 goals across all competitions for PSG – who were remarkably eliminated by Manchester United in the Champions League last 16.

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