Maurizio Sarri has landed the biggest job of his career having swapped Chelsea for Juventus and his planning for the new season starts immediately.

After taking the long road to the top of the game, instant success will be demanded of the 60-year-old former banker as Juve seek their ninth straight Serie A table.

Sarri's Napoli posed the strongest challenge to Juve in recent years and he will come up against fellow former Chelsea bosses Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti next term, with the Italians in charge of Inter and the Partenopei respectively.

Winning the league will be the least expected of Sarri at the Allianz Stadium, but what does he need to do to improve on the work done by predecessor Massimiliano Allegri?


Keep Ronaldo happy

Cristiano Ronaldo's first season at Juve was relatively successful - he scored 28 goals in all competitions including a Champions League hat-trick to down Atletico Madrid - but Sarri will hope there is more to come.

The 34-year-old was outscored by Duvan Zapata, Krzysztof Piatek and Fabio Quagliarella in Serie A, but, under Sarri at Napoli, Gonzalo Higuain plundered 36 league goals in the 2015-16 season and the new Juve coach will hope Ronaldo can achieve a similar return next term.

Of course, Higuain could well be back at Juve next season as, with Sarri gone after a single campaign at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are highly unlikely to trigger their option to either buy the striker or extend his loan for another season despite their transfer ban.

Juggling Ronaldo, Higuain, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala promises to be one of the major challenges facing Sarri.


Win - and with attacking football

Barring outliers such as a 6-0 mauling by Manchester City, results for Sarri at Chelsea were broadly good, but it was his style of football many fans did not like.

Although he brought midfield conductor Jorginho with him from Napoli, Chelsea supporters felt Sarri's side played too slowly in possession, dominating the ball but without incision.

It was strange, though, as Sarri built one of the most exciting teams in world football at Napoli, where Jorginho played the same role. Perhaps at Juve he will have players who are suited to a more entertaining style.


Decide Dybala's future

Should Sarri decide to keep Higuain at Juve, the player to lose out could be Dybala. Last season was difficult for the Argentina forward as he only started 24 league games, the lowest total of his four seasons at the club.

Dybala's relationship with Allegri was frosty and reports have suggested Sarri would be willing to swap the 25-year-old for Mauro Icardi, whose relationship with Inter broke down last term after he was stripped of the captaincy.


Establish new long-term defence

Juve have an aging squad and freshening it up will be on Sarri's shoulders as he signed a three-year deal. 

Andrea Barzagli has retired and, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci having a combined age of 66, Sarri cannot rely on the duo long term.

Daniele Rugani will likely enjoy more minutes in 2019-20 after starting 15 Serie A games last term, with the 24-year-old an obvious successor to Barzagli, but Sarri has big calls to make at full-back as well as in the middle of his defence.

Joao Cancelo is reportedly a target for Manchester City while Alex Sandro has also been linked with leaving. Reports have claimed the Brazil left-back could be offered to Manchester United as a makeweight, along with Dybala, in a deal to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin.


End wait for European glory

Allegri's Juve dominated domestically but they continually fell short in Europe, so there is no doubt where the improvements need to be made by Sarri.

Juve have not won the Champions League since 1996, losing five times in the final since then, while Sarri led Chelsea to the Europa League title last term.

Ultimately, it would not matter much if Ronaldo was unhappy, Dybala remains unsettled and the football was uninspiring were Juve to lift the trophy in Istanbul next year.

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed 2018-19 as an "unforgettable season" after he set records and lifted trophies with both Juventus and Portugal.

Ronaldo ended his nine-year stay at LaLiga giants Real Madrid in July 2018, moving to Italian champions Juve for €120million.

The 34-year-old more than repaid his transfer fee, scoring 21 Serie A goals as Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus cruised to an eighth successive Scudetto.

Ronaldo also became the first player to reach 100 wins and 125 goals in the Champions League, though Juve were eliminated by Ajax in the quarter-finals – a defeat which ultimately may have been the reason for Allegri's departure at the end of the campaign.

But Ronaldo was not done there, and after his success with his new club, led Portugal to a Nations League Finals triumph on home soil, scoring a stunning hat-trick in the semi-final win over Switzerland.

And, taking to his official Instagram channel, Ronaldo shared his joy at achieving so much over the course of the season.

"What an unforgettable season! New experiences, gigantic club, exciting city, broken records and three more titles," Ronaldo posted.

"I have to thank all of Juventus fans for the wonderful way I was welcomed in Italy! You're a very important part of our victories! 

"Thanks to all my fans around the world and particularly to the Portuguese people that helped us reach another historical win for Portugal! You'll always have a special place in my heart!

"Personally, I'll never forget the great moments and new record-breaking achievements I've had so far in 2019."

Ronaldo then went onto list some of his accolades from the season, including becoming the first player to win 10 UEFA titles, and being the first to score in all national team finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo has told James Rodriguez to join Juventus, according to Lothar Matthaus.

James – who is currently preparing for Colombia's Copa America campaign – is set to leave Real Madrid this off-season.

The playmaker has spent the last two campaigns on loan at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, but will not extend his stay in Germany.

And Bayern great Matthaus believes the 27-year-old has his heart set on a move to Serie A, with James' former Madrid club-mate Ronaldo having instructed him to join Juve.

"I see him at Juventus," Matthaus told Spanish publication AS.

"We had a conversation two weeks ago, during the celebration of Bayern's Bundesliga win.

"He is very close to Ronaldo and told me that he was in contact with him and that he has told him that he wants to have him at Juventus.

"I understand why as James can serve Ronaldo so that he can score and the two of them can shine."

James signed for Madrid in 2014, on the back of starring for Colombia and winning the golden boot at the World Cup in Brazil.

Juve are not the only Italian club rumoured to be interested in the former Monaco player, with Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of Los Blancos when James arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu, reportedly keen on his services.

Maurizio Sarri looks set to be appointed as Juve's coach, following Massimiliano Allegri's departure at the end of last season, with a compensation package reportedly agreed with Chelsea.

Luka Jovic used to sleep in a Real Madrid shirt and says Cristiano Ronaldo was his idol.

Jovic has signed a six-year deal with Los Blancos, who paid Eintracht Frankfurt a reported €60million.

The Serbia striker becomes part of Madrid's rebuild in Zinedine Zidane's second spell at the club.

Eden Hazard, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes are also arriving after Madrid's disappointing 2018-19 campaign.

But Jovic revealed it was Ronaldo, who left Madrid for Juventus last year, who was his idol.

"Ronaldo, definitely, as a kid," Jovic said when asked who his favourite Madrid player was.

"Right now I don't pick one player out, as we're all team-mates now.

"I know last season was not the best season at Real Madrid, but hopefully next year will be better.

"The price does not bring more pressure, I've not really thought about that. I am just focusing on what I have to do on the pitch.

"I've not had a chance to talk to any Madrid players yet. I'd like to talk to Luka Modric and hopefully I will do that in the next few days."

Jovic confirmed a story told by club president Florentino Perez at his unveiling about him sleeping in a Madrid colours growing up.

"Yes it is true, the jersey was a gift from a family friend," he added. "I was a Madrid fan, like many kids."

Of fellow new signing Hazard, who will be unveiled on Thursday, Jovic added: "He is a fantastic player, one of the best in the world and it will be a pleasure to share a dressing room with him."

Matthijs de Ligt insists he is yet to decide which club he will join in the coming months, although he will not allow kind words from Cristiano Ronaldo or Frenkie de Jong to sway him.

The Ajax star is one of the most sought-after talents in world football following an outstanding season in which he helped his club to the Champions League semi-finals.

Several of Europe's elite clubs are said to be chasing De Ligt, with Ronaldo encouraging the 19-year-old to join Juventus while former team-mate De Jong talked up a move to Barcelona.

But De Ligt has not yet made his decision and plans to take his time, telling Mundo Deportivo: "I still do not know what my heart says, I have been concentrated all the time on Ajax and the national team.

"Now, on my holidays, I will be able to think about it and decide what I am going to do with my future.

"For me, the most important thing is to know that in the team where I go I can have prominence and play many games. I do not know when I'll have it resolved, but I'm going to take my time."

Discussing the pitches from Ronaldo and De Jong, De Ligt continued: "Of course it would be nice [to be reunited with De Jong], but I must also look at what is best for me.

"I do not pay attention to anyone, I have to choose my own path."

Responding to suggestions Barca might not be able to match financial deals elsewhere, he added: "Money is not the problem.

"Maybe it's not the time yet. It's something I have to think about and decide during my holidays - nothing more."

Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to lead Portugal in a drive for more silverware after their Nations League triumph.

The Juventus forward was the leading scorer at the Nations League Finals thanks to his semi-final hat-trick against Switzerland.

He then helped his country defeat Netherlands 1-0 in Sunday's title match, when Goncalo Guedes netted the only goal.

And 34-year-old Ronaldo intends to remain available to Portugal for as long as the team continue to make progress, with the Euro 2020 trophy next in the captain's sights as they look to defend the title they won in France three years ago.

He said: "The national team will continue, with or without Cristiano. I think the team has great potential. There are young players, players who over the years will become more mature and better.

"I want to be part of this project because I feel good and I feel able to help the national team."

Ronaldo also told uefa.com: "I think the national team has the potential to continue to evolve and win more trophies."

With 88 goals in 158 appearances for his country, he is the highest scoring European in international football history.

The former Real Madrid frontman said landing a winner's medal from the inaugural Nations League gave him enormous satisfaction.

"A lot of happiness!" he said. "It was excellent, I'm very happy. Having won this trophy here in Portugal in front of the Portuguese people, for me this is a great honour."

Ajax and Netherlands star Matthijs de Ligt revealed Cristiano Ronaldo asked him if he would join Juventus next season.

De Ligt, 19, is expected to make a big-money move from Ajax in the close season, with Paris Saint-Germain or Barcelona reportedly his most likely destinations.

But Juve star Ronaldo wasted no time trying to get the defender to Turin after Portugal edged Netherlands 1-0 in the Nations League final on Sunday.

Asked if Ronaldo had questioned if he would be his team-mate at Juventus, De Ligt told NOS: "That could be true, yes.

"I didn't understand him at first. I was a little shocked, so I laughed, but I didn't say anything.

"Shortly after the game you are not at all concerned with it, you are disappointed you have lost and that is the only thing you are thinking about."

Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the centre-back, who enjoyed a stellar 2018-19 as Ajax reached the Champions League semi-finals.

But De Ligt is looking forward to a break before his future is decided, saying: "I will first go on a nice vacation and rest.

"I will let it happen and then I will see."

In the 28th minute it happened. The titanic confrontation we'd all be waiting for. Virgil van Dijk blocked a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Except, things never really heated up from there. Of course they didn't. That was never really Ronaldo's intention.

The build-up to this match, where a 1-0 win over Netherlands crowned Portugal the inaugural Nations League champions, focused on how the how battle between Europe's best defender this season and the continent's greatest international goalscorer of all time might play out.

Ronaldo has five Ballons d'Or and is hungry for a sixth, although there is a growing clamour for Van Dijk's imperious displays with Champions League winners Liverpool this season to be recognised.

Earlier incarnations of Ronaldo – think of the Madrid-bound Manchester United tyro who signed off with a 2-0 Champions League final defeat against Barcelona, but not before cramming a ludicrous number of shots into the opening 10 minutes – would have charged headlong into the Van Dijk confrontation.

But the 34-year-old version loiters on the fringes of games. Player of the Tournament Bernardo Silva was the attacking inspiration as Portugal tightened their grip on the opening 45 minutes, all twinkling feet and bustling energy. Bruno Fernandes fired five of the hosts' 12 shots before the break in something of a quantity over quality contribution.

Ronaldo still occasionally indulges such trigger-happy tendencies. Silva covered 13.7 kilometres in Manchester City's Premier League win over Liverpool this season, work that Ronaldo would certainly not see himself having any part of nowadays

Why should he? For all their stylistic differences, this is the big late-career convergence between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

They've seen these patterns of play, these ebbs and flows over and over. They know they are better than pretty much anyone else who has laced boots. Why get involved in the hustle and bustle more likely to magnify the ravages of age when you can watch, wait and produce game-sealing brilliance?

Ronaldo's hat-trick in this week's semi-final was a fine demonstration of that approach in action, thumping home a free-kick and seeing the game drift before going bang-bang late on to seal the deal.

The other side of this equation is ceding absolute control of events. When Messi's Barcelona were ransacked by Liverpool in the Champions League, he appeared a victim of circumstances his team-mates could not bring back into his gasp. Ronaldo had a similar experience against many of his Sunday opponents when Ajax did for Juventus.

Thankfully for him, with the relentless Silva at his side, this chance to lift silverware before an adoring public was never likely to pass him by.

Where Frenkie de Jong was able to bend England to his will in midweek, the Dutch midfield master found himself more concerned with events behind him in Porto. Which pocket of space was Silva going to dart into next? When would he stop running? Would he ever?

The silky touches thrill those in the stands, but it is Silva's sheer relentlessness that make him a nightmare to play against. Like an immaculate classic car powered by a thundering and unfailing diesel engine.

He snuck between the lines decisively with an hour played, teeing up Goncalo Guedes for a fabulous finish.

In the end, there was no need for Ronaldo to engage in the heavyweight tussle when Portugal's brilliant bantamweight was going through his repertoire, even winning headers against Matthijs de Ligt in his own penalty area and weaving around De Jong again to run down the clock.

Head coach Fernando Santos still thinks Portugal will be able to call upon a 37-year-old Ronaldo at the 2022 World Cup. The sight of the superstar forward embracing Silva immediately after the full-time whistle suggests he knows just how important his country's latest world-class star will be in effectively realising that dream.

England kicked off their Women's World Cup campaign with a win, while Brazil hammered Jamaica and Italy stunned Australia.

Phil Neville's side got off to a bright start against Scotland in Nice and were rewarded when Nicola Docherty was deemed to have handled Francesca Kirby's cross inside the box. 

Nikita Parris – who plays her club football in France for Champions League winners Lyon – lashed home from the spot, with Ellen White netting England's second five minutes before half-time.

Beth Mead had a goal disallowed for offside after the restart, but despite Claire Emslie's 79th-minute strike setting up a nervy finish, England held firm to move top of Group D.

Earlier on Sunday, Brazil's Cristiane and Formiga set records in a comfortable 3-0 win over the tournament's lowest ranked team Jamaica in Group C.

Four-time Copa America winners Brazil made light work of Jamaica thanks to Cristiane's hat-trick, as the 34-year-old overtook Cristiano Ronaldo as the oldest player to score three goals in a game at any World Cup.

Having opened the scoring in the 15th minute, Cristiane doubled Brazil's advantage five minutes into the second half before rounding off her treble with a pinpoint free-kick.

Cristiane was not the only Brazil star to set a record, though, as her team-mate Formiga, at the age of 41 years and 98 days, became the oldest player to appear in the women's finals, and the first to feature in all seven editions of the tournament.

In Group C's other encounter, Barbara Bonansea netted a 95th-minute winner as Italy came from behind to overcome Australia 2-1 in Valenciennes.

Bonansea was denied a goal by VAR early on – a decision that took over two minutes – and matters were made worse for Italy when Sam Kerr tucked home on the rebound after her penalty was saved to put the Matildas ahead.

But Australia, quarter-finalists at the last three World Cups, lost control in the second half, Bonansea slotting in to restore parity.

Daniela Sabatino had a goal ruled out for offside, but Italy were not to be denied a second, with Bonansea their hero in the dying embers with a fantastic header to clinch the points.

Wayne Rooney has urged Manchester United to resist the temptation to target world superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale because he fears it could prove a huge waste of money.

The Red Devils are in the early stages of a new era under the leadership of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and have been linked with a host of established top-tier players.

They are eager to rival neighbours Manchester City, who have pulled away to become the leading side in the Premier League, while United failed even to qualify for next season's Champions League.

And with arch-rivals Liverpool becoming European champions only last week, United are longing to bring back their own glory days and improve substantially on their sixth-place finish in the top flight in 2018-19.

Record scorer Rooney says his old club should be patient, however, and build for long-term success at home and in Europe rather than plot a quick and expensive fix.

Speaking on BBC Five Live's Sportsweek show, Rooney said: "For Ole, the first thing he's got to do is try and build the squad. I don't think bringing one or two players in for over £100million is going to really help with the squad and with the players who are there.

"I think he needs to try and look at maybe five or six players who have got potential to be top players but you're not spending £120-130m on these players.

"I think you're spending £30-40m and then you're trying to improve them, which will also give you longevity out of the players and allow you to build a squad around the five or six new players who come in plus a few of the players who are still there.

"You could bring three players in - you could bring in Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and [Lionel] Messi, or Gareth Bale for instance - and it's going to cost you £300-350m.

"You'd get maybe two years out of Ronaldo, a couple of years out of Ramos and then you've written that money off.

"The club needs to rebuild with younger players. But obviously they need to be good enough and allow the managers to improve them."

Wales winger Daniel James is set to join from Swansea City after the clubs agreed a deal, with the 21-year-old a player United hope will blossom at Old Trafford.

Rooney, now at DC United, added: "I think the Man United fans will understand they're probably not going to compete for the Premier League next year.

"So, let them have that time, let Ole have that time to build a team for the next two or three years who are going to compete not only at Premier League level but at Champions League level."

The outcome of an anticipated titanic battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk is likely to have a huge say in whether Portugal or Netherlands win the inaugural Nations League.

A stunning hat-trick from Ronaldo saw hosts Portugal to a 3-1 semi-final win over Switzerland, while Van Dijk played with typical composure in a game otherwise laced with defensive errors in Guimaraes – the Netherlands coming from behind to beat England 3-1 in extra time.

Van Dijk was named the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year on account of his imperious form for Liverpool and scooped man-of-the-match honours as Jurgen Klopp's side won the Champions League final against Tottenham last weekend.

As such there is an increasing clamour for the 27-year-old to be in contention for the Ballon d'Or, but, at Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, a five-time winner of the award will be doing everything to ensure Van Dijk's excellent season ends on a low note.

Using Opta data, we have a look two phenomenal campaigns that will collide and conclude in Porto.

Ronaldo – Hitting the ground running in Italy

21 – On his debut season at Juventus, Ronaldo struck 21 times in Serie A. Of that haul, 16 came after half-time. No player in the division scored more second-half goals.

18 – Those goals carried a decisive weight and were worth 18 points to Juve, who won an eighth consecutive Scudetto.

14 – Ronaldo's goals came against 14 different teams. Only John Charles (1957-58) and Brazil great Ronaldo (1997-98) scored against more teams in their first Serie A campaigns (both 15).

177 – Across Europe's top five leagues in 2018-19, no player attempted more shots than Ronaldo.

85 – But this did not come to the detriment of his team-mates. Ronaldo's 85 successful lay-offs were the most in Italy's top flight this term.

Van Dijk – Get past him if you can

64 – No player has successfully dribbled past Van Dijk in 64 games across all competitions for Liverpool. This run includes all 38 of his Premier League appearances this season and stretches back to 47 league games – a streak that began in March last year.

20 – No outfield player kept more clean sheets in Europe's top five leagues.

30 – Similarly, no outfield player won more games in those competitions than Van Dijk this season.

76.3 – The Dutchman boasts the highest percentage success rate of any player in the Premier League contesting more than 50 duels. Of 321, he won 245.

182 – Van Dijk won 182 of 243 aerial duels (74.9 per cent). Only Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire won a higher percentage of players to have contested 25 or more.

2,724 – In terms of successful passes among Premier League defenders, Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte (2,768) is the only player to have completed more than Van Dijk.

Cristiano Ronaldo can continue playing at an elite level for club and country for at least three or four more years, according to Portugal head coach Fernando Santos.

Portugal face Netherlands in Sunday's Nations League final in Porto thanks to their star forward's stunning hat-trick to secure a 3-1 triumph over Switzerland in midweek.

It moved the 34-year-old on to 88 international goals and Santos, who led his country to glory at Euro 2016, expects Ronaldo to still be serving his country with distinction by the time the 2022 World Cup in Qatar rolls around.

"I am not surprised at how he has played," Santos, who coached the former Manchester United and Real Madrid favourite when his career was in its infancy at Sporting CP, told a pre-match news conference.

"I was surprised he was a great player at Sporting when he was 19 and when he went to Manchester United, I lost him. But from that moment I could see his special qualities.

"He has proved from that moment that he has special qualities. He has proved himself on and off the pitch and he can continue to play at the top level for another three or four years.

"He is very fit. He trains to the limit. It is not normal to reach these performances, but I think he will continue for a while.

"He is the captain. He is a hugely important player. I think he will continue to give people joy at a club and international level."

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio spoke in similarly glowing terms and relishes pitting his wits against Ronaldo when the two long-serving internationals get together for Portugal duty.

Patricio, who will become the most capped goalkeeper in his country's history if he makes an 81st appearance as expected at Estadio do Dragao, said: "For us as athletes, we want to train, we want to face the best in the world and that is what we work towards every day so we can compete and improve.

"To have the opportunity of working with Cristiano across the board in training, he is a fantastic professional that gives us a reason to be proud and we learn a lot.

"We are also lucky to share the dressing room with him and work alongside him. For any player or coach it gives a reason to be proud."

Another stalwart of the Santos era, veteran defender Pepe, will be absent from the final after fracturing his right shoulder during the second half against Switzerland.

Jose Fonte is expected to partner Ruben Dias at centre-back in his absence, having come on for Pepe in midweek.

Ronald Koeman believes Netherlands' defensive stars Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt can shackle Cristiano Ronaldo when they take on Portugal in Sunday's Nations League final.

Hosts Portugal booked a return to Estadio do Dragao, where they beat Switzerland 3-1 on Wednesday, thanks to a stunning Ronaldo hat-trick – the 53rd treble of his professional career.

Van Dijk brought an element of calm to the Dutch's error-strewn semi-final against England, which also ended 3-1 after extra time.

De Ligt erred to give away the penalty from which England took the lead but he responded by powering home a second-half equaliser.

The Ajax youngster enjoyed success against Ronaldo's Juventus in the Champions League this year and, with plenty of focus on the heavyweight tussle between Van Dijk and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Koeman was keen to point out both his centre-backs are fully equipped for the challenge.

"We played a friendly in Switzerland, not a long time ago, and De Ligt was stopping Ronaldo as well," Koeman told a pre-match news conference, reflecting upon a 3-0 win in Geneva last year when Van Dijk completed the scoring.

"It's not only Van Dijk who can stop Ronaldo.

"But Ronaldo is good enough to create against really good defenders. That's the nicest part of football - you can't do anything because his quality is on such a high level."

Perhaps unlike his colleagues further back in the line-up, Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has the luxury of looking forward to pitting his wits against one of the greats of the game.

"I'm happy that we play against him," the Liverpool midfielder said. "You always want to play against the best players in the world. It will be a big test for us to stop him.

"We all look forward to playing a game against Ronaldo, but it's not only him. He has a big influence on the team, and it's difficult to stop it.

"They have more players who can make the difference, as a team we have to do well to stop them."

Daley Blind, who played at centre-back alongside De Ligt at Ajax this season and operated at left-back outside Van Dijk in Guimaraes in midweek, believes the whole team has a defensive job to put in against a gifted Portugal side.

"They're both great defenders. I think it's comfortable next to them," he said.

"Matthijs is a big talent, Virgil is showing his qualities all season long.

"But our defence starts with our attacks – you can see on the two goals we scored against England [in extra time] when we won the ball high up the pitch and to create chances."

Netherlands have undergone a rapid resurgence since Koeman's appointment last February, having failed to qualify for either Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup.

"We know in Holland we can play football but maybe the difference now is there is more focus, more togetherness, more energy in the team," Koeman added. "This is what I think has made the improvement of this team."

Eden Hazard completed his much-anticipated move from Chelsea to Real Madrid on Friday, the 13-time European champions agreeing to pay a fee that could rise to €140million.

In doing so, Hazard became the latest Premier League superstar to be drawn to the bright lights of LaLiga.

Over the past decade, Barcelona and Madrid have repeatedly cherry-picked the English top flight's hottest talent – a policy that has helped deliver six Champions League titles between the two great rivals in the 10 seasons from 2009-10.

Will Hazard's arrival return Madrid to the head of European club football's top table? He has a lot to live up to if he is to fill the shoes of the first man on our list of players to recently swap the Premier League for LaLiga.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United to Real Madrid, €94m, July 2009

Arguably the greatest ever player to have represented the mighty Madrid. The Portuguese arrived from United and, in an incessant personal battle with Barca icon Lionel Messi, set new standards for goalscoring feats. In all, Ronaldo rattled in a record 450 for Los Blancos and delivered two LaLiga crowns as well as a remarkable four Champions Leagues over a five-year period of dominance. Now 34, he left for Juventus in a €112m switch last July.

Luka Modric, Tottenham to Real Madrid, €35m, August 2012

Alongside Toni Kroos in midfield, the heartbeat of the Madrid side that left the rest of Europe trailing in their wake. A glorious technician with Spurs, Modric blossomed even further at the Santiago Bernabeu into a player capable of controlling the tempo of games on the grandest stage. His individual brilliance was recognised last year as he broke the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly on the Ballon d'Or, having inspired Croatia to the World Cup final.

Gareth Bale, Tottenham to Real Madrid, €101m, September 2013

An immediate hit at the Bernabeu, Bale helped to secure the club's 10th European Cup at the end of his first season, scoring the crucial second goal against rivals Atletico Madrid. He has made a habit of delivering in major finals – a stunning solo effort against Barca in the 2014 Copa del Rey and a frankly ridiculous overhead bicycle kick against Liverpool to help win the 2018 Champions League ought to have endeared him to Madrid fans forever. But, amid injuries and a loss of form, it has gone slightly sour for Bale and rumours abound he is keen to leave the Spanish capital.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool to Barcelona, €81m, July 2014

Having almost earned the Reds a first league crown since 1990 in a devastating partnership with Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14, Suarez made the move to Camp Nou to link up with Messi and Neymar as part of the fabled 'MSN' strikeforce. Together, the trio inspired Barca to the treble at the end of that first season – just three of the 11 major honours picked up by Suarez in the five seasons since he left Liverpool behind.

Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool to Barcelona, €130m, January 2018

It is fair to say Barca will probably feel they are yet to see value for their significant outlay on another South American star taken from Anfield. Coutinho has struggled to find his feet at Camp Nou thus far, starting just 22 league games in his first full season with the Blaugrana. To make matters worse, he was essentially anonymous over two legs against his old club in last month's Champions League semi-final, hauled off on the hour in both matches.

Who's next?

With Madrid and Barca proving attractive prospects for any footballer with lofty ambitions, it seems certain that Hazard will not be the last Premier League superstar to join one of the colossal Clasico clubs. Paul Pogba is repeatedly linked with a move to LaLiga's big two, while Christian Eriksen has already indicated he is ready to leave Spurs and find a new challenge – Madrid being widely reported as his likely destination. United goalkeeper David de Gea is never far away from speculation about his future, while Sadio Mane and Harry Kane have previously been suggested as targets for Madrid, as has Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette for Barca.

Cristiano Ronaldo is eyeing a second international title with Portugal as the Euro 2016 champions prepare for the Nations League final against Netherlands.

Portugal and Netherlands will do battle in Sunday's decider after Ronaldo's hat-trick saw off Switzerland 3-1 in the semi-finals.

Ronaldo – who featured in the Euro 2004 final loss to Greece – helped Portugal to European glory three years ago and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has set his sight on victory in his third international decider.

"When I pull on the shirt of the national team, it's a huge honour for me and it's a different feeling than it is playing for clubs," Ronaldo told UEFA.com.

"It's our country: my family is Portuguese, my friends too. I grew up in Portugal, so it's special to put on the shirt of the national team. And obviously, the chance to fight for trophies makes it even more special – like it was in Euro 2004 and Euro 2016, and how this competition will be now.

"Three finals and I hope to win two of the three. That would be fantastic and I have hope − so does the team. We are positive; we are playing at home.

"I hope the stadium will be great, that there will be good energy, that this energy will be transmitted to us, and that everyone can be confident, because we will try to give our best. Together, we can become champions."

Ronaldo dazzled in the semis, with his brilliant treble sending Portugal through to the inaugural Nations League final.

It took the 34-year-old's international tally to 88 goals via his 53rd career hat-trick.

"It's the preparation – my work ethic," Ronaldo said when asked about defying his age. "I still feel good despite being 34 years of age. The most important thing is your head, to feel motivated and happy, and to follow my path as a player, because I think I still have a lot to give and I feel very good."

Standing in the way of Portugal and an international title are Netherlands, who overcame England 3-1 after extra time.

Boasting Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, Ronaldo added: "Netherlands are an excellent team. They have been playing pretty well. I've been watching them in recent matches and they have an excellent squad with great players – young players and more experienced players, which makes their team even stronger.

"We know that they will be quite a difficult opponent, but I think that for both Portugal and Netherlands, this is simply what finals are like."

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