Henrikh Mkhitaryan will remain on loan at Roma for the rest of the season, with the Serie A club also revealing he is set to stay in Italy for a further year. 

Mkhitaryan has made 19 appearances in all competitions since joining from Arsenal in September and has recently returned from injury. 

Roma will have the Armenia international available for the closing weeks of a campaign that was delayed for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, while there is also a preliminary agreement for 2020-21 in place. 

"I'm very pleased," Mkhitaryan - who has started the previous two games - said. 

"I'm happy to extend my stay here, because I still have things that I haven’t achieved yet that I want to achieve. 

"I'm looking forward to it." 

Mkhitaryan moved to the Gunners from Manchester United in January 2018 as part of the deal that sent Alexis Sanchez in the opposite direction. 

Roma sit fifth in the Serie A table but are nine points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta. Paulo Fonseca's squad are still in the Europa League too, with a one-off tie against Sevilla to come early next month. 

"We are happy that Henrikh has decided to stay with us, and help us continue to grow," Roma CEO Guido Fienga said. 

"The club's targets have not changed and we always want to have players at our club, like Micki, who show their desire, professionalism and determination, who represent our club and our fans in the right way." 

Add Tottenham to the list of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic admirers.

The Lazio star and Serbia international has teams queuing up for his services, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly tipped to secure his signature.

However, Premier League outfit Spurs are now eyeing Milinkovic-Savic.

 

TOP STORY – MILINKOVIC-SAVIC WANTED BY SPURS

Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Tottenham, according to Foot Mercato.

Milinkovic-Savic is a player in demand, having been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Manchester City and Chelsea.

While a move for Milinkovic-Savic appears out of reach for Spurs, Jose Mourinho is still dreaming.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Milinkovic-Savic is a dream for Spurs, The Telegraph says Tottenham are confident of signing Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Mourinho, however, must raise transfer funds through sales from his squad.

Inter are in advanced talks with Brescia to finalise a deal for star Sandro Tonali, according to journalist Nicolo Schira. Inter have agreed a five-year deal with Tonali.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future at Milan beyond the 2019-20 season is complicated, says Calciomercato. Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the campaign and the 38-year-old striker is no closer to signing an extension. While he would like to remain at San Siro, an extension looks set to be postponed until the proposed arrival of Ralf Rangnick as head coach.

- Sport Bild reports Bayern Munich are hopeful of extending David Alaba's contract, despite failing to come to an agreement at a meeting last week. Alaba has been linked to Chelsea recently. Meanwhile, Sky Sport says Bayern are not prepared to exercise their option to sign Ivan Perisic permanently from Inter following his loan spell.

- ABC says Real Betis have been in negotiations with former West Ham, Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini about their coaching vacancy.

Milan and Napoli are both interested in Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, claims Le10 Sport. The Serbian could be a replacement for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been linked to the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

- The Daily Mail reports Arsenal are ready to use out-of-favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi as a bargaining chip in a potential swap deal. United, PSG, Madrid and Barca have emerged as possible destinations.

Juventus director Fabio Paratici said Miralem Pjanic would only leave for Barcelona after the Bosnian midfielder agreed to join the LaLiga champions.

Pjanic will swap Juve for Barca at the end of the 2019-20 season, with Arthur moving in the opposite direction as part of the high-profile swap deal.

Juve star Pjanic was in the starting XI and played 74 minutes of Tuesday's 3-1 Serie A victory over Genoa following the announcement.

Asked about Pjanic prior to Juve's win, Paratici told Sky Sport Italia: "Logically, the transfer market is part planning and part opportunity. In this particular deal, we had both elements.

"Pjanic is a very important player for us, so when the option emerged, we spoke to Miralem and he said he was happy here, so the only club he would've left us for was Barcelona.

"We found this player Arthur, who we had been tracking for a long time, and who is younger than Pjanic."

Juve have also been involved in another swap deal, with 19-year-old Portuguese winger Felix Correia arriving from Manchester City in exchange for 18-year-old Spanish forward Pablo Moreno.

Correia has signed a five-year contract in Turin following his €10.5million (£9.5m) transfer, while Moreno – who left Barcelona for Juve in 2018 – has penned a four-year deal and cost City €10m (£9m).

"Felix is a winger who is strong in taking men on, he's very talented and we'd been following him for a while too," Paratici added. "He was more functional for our U23 team project compared to Moreno."

 

Maurizio Sarri lauded the "phenomenal skills" of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa after Serie A leaders Juventus defeated Genoa.

Stunning goals from Ronaldo, Dybala and Costa ensured titleholders Juve stayed four points clear of scudetto challengers Lazio thanks to Tuesday's 3-1 victory at struggling Genoa.

Dybala broke the deadlock with a fine individual effort in the 50th minute before Ronaldo made it 2-0 six minutes later via a thunderous long-range strike.

Juve substitute Costa then put the visitors out of sight with an equally impressive effort, while Andrea Pinamonti drilled in a 76th-minute consolation for Genoa.

"In the second half we lead thanks to our single players because we scored on three excellent plays by three single men," Juve head coach Sarri said.

"Paulo's [Dybala] great slalom, the outstanding Ronaldo's shoot, incredible for its precision and strength and the sensible touch from [Douglas Costa].

"This is how we solved the match, thanks to our individualities and phenomenal skills. We created the team's assumptions." 

Sarri and Juve were heavily criticised following the coronavirus break, which saw the Italian champions go back-to-back games without scoring, including in their Coppa Italia final defeat to Napoli.

Ronaldo was also scrutinised but Juve have now won three consecutive matches to be top of the table with nine fixtures remaining.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner equalled his tally from last season across all competitions with his 28th goal in 2019-20, while he has scored 14 goals in 2020 – more than any other Serie A player this year.

Sarri added: "After the lockdown I made an assessment: I said that something changed. Then everybody almost made fun of me because we lost the Coppa Italia on penalties.

"The truth is that once we improved our condition we started paying better this kind of football. This due to our condition that's getting better after the lockdown."

Juve are back in action against city rivals Torino on Saturday.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) released the schedule for the remaining matches of the coronavirus-hit A-League season, with a bonanza of 27 games in 28 matches before a quick-fire finals series.

The 2019-20 A-League campaign has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, but Australia's premier football competition is set to restart on July 16 followed by a five-game finals series – the Grand Final to take place on August 23.

A derby between Melbourne Victory and Western United – originally scheduled for AAMI Park in Melbourne – will be played at a stadium still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

Six venues will be used in New South Wales and Queensland with the potential for more to be added subject to government regulations – ANZ Stadium (NSW), Bankwest Stadium (NSW), Central Coast Stadium (NSW), McDonald Jones Stadium (NSW), Jubilee Stadium (NSW) and Cbus Stadium (QLD).

"Over the past three months all stakeholders have been working hard together with one goal in mind – To finish what we started," FFA's Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke said on Wednesday.

"We know the COVID-19 environment has been very difficult for many people in our community and we hope that delivering an extravaganza of matches will allow our fans to basically see a game everyday will be a unique experience for those who have stood by us.

"As we are a truly national game, the current border controls means that some of the match day venues may need to change, however we have secured venues in both a NSW Hub model and a hybrid hub model which has most games in NSW but allows for a few games in other states.

"Whilst we don't see the draw changing, the planning we have undertaken provides us with agility to shift between certain states if required. This version of the draw displays our current venue plan.

"We will continue to work with the Federal and State governments to ensure the health and safety of our players, coaches and other stakeholders and have detailed and practical protocols in place for all parties involved in training and match days.

"I am excited to see us kick off the restart and ultimately finish off what we started last October, with our priority always being to be in a position to crown our Hyundai A-League premiers and champions for this season."

Defending champions Sydney FC top the table by eight points through 20 matches, though second-placed Melbourne City have played three games less.

Rennes sporting director Florian Maurice said the Ligue 1 side have no intention of selling teenage sensation Eduardo Camavinga amid links to Real Madrid, even for €80million.

Camavinga is reportedly wanted by LaLiga giants Madrid following a breakout Ligue 1 campaign before the 2019-20 season was cut short in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 17-year-old midfielder has also previously been linked to French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

"Camavinga's departure has not been spoken about," Maurice told RMC Sport. "There has never been a real interest. Since my arrival, I was clear that Camavinga would be included in the project. 

"If Real Madrid offer €80million for him as is being talked about, the answer is no. We want him to stay so that he keeps developing at Rennes."

"For me it is clear, this player must be part of the project for the coming season. We want to continue with this player," Maurice continued.

"It is important for him that he continues with Stade Rennais. He's a very good boy, a great player.

"These are discussions we will have together. For our part, we have no intention of letting him go."

"It is worth pointing out that the player has the ambition and maybe the desire to go elsewhere," added Maurice.

"I would listen to him, but at the moment he has a Rennes contract and we will then see how the transfer window is working."

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said he is "without words" amid Antoine Griezmann's struggles at Barcelona.

Griezmann was a 90th-minute substitute against former team Atletico, who earned a 2-2 draw away to stuttering Barca in LaLiga on Tuesday.

A €120million signing from Atletico at the start of the season, Griezmann arrived amid much hype but the star forward has struggled at Camp Nou, where he has started on the bench against Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in recent weeks.

Griezmann has scored eight LaLiga goals this season and 14 across all competitions for second-placed Barca, who could fall four points adrift of bitter rivals Real Madrid on Thursday.

However, Griezmann has not scored since Barca's 1-1 draw against Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie prior to the coronavirus pandemic in February.

Asked about Griezmann, Simeone told Movistar: "I'm without words."

Diego Costa's 11th-minute own goal had put Barca ahead before Saul Niguez's penalty restored parity for Atletico eight minutes later.

Lionel Messi converted a penalty of his own five minutes into the second half to celebrate his 700th career goal, but another Saul spot-kick – in the 62nd minute – secured a draw for Atletico.

It is the first time Atletico have scored two goals against Barca in LaLiga under Simeone, whose side are third and two points clear of Sevilla with five matches remaining.

"We are respectful of Barcelona ​​with the quality they have," Simeone said.

"The game was played as a result of what we usually do. We started well. Their goal came in an isolated play.

"Then to generate a difficult game against a team that keep the ball well.

"We tried until the end. The work was very good, a very competitive team. I'm happy."

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala have learned to work together following their goalscoring displays, according to Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Ronaldo and Dybala both scored stunning individual goals as defending champions Juve stayed four points clear atop the Serie A table with a 3-1 win at Genoa.

There have been doubts over whether Ronaldo and Dybala are compatible in Juve's starting XI, but the star duo starred on Tuesday.

Sarri hailed the pair post-match, telling Sky Sport Italia: "Something has changed in terms of movements, but they have learned to look for each other more often.

"They have realised that by benefitting from each other, both reap the rewards. It's something I have noticed in training too."

After a dominant first-half display failed to produce the goods, Dybala broke the deadlock in the 50th minute before Ronaldo made it 2-0 six minutes later with a thunderous long-range effort.

Juve substitute Douglas Costa then put the visitors out of sight with an equally impressive strike, while Andrea Pinamonti drilled in a 76th-minute consolation for Genoa.

Ronaldo equalled his tally from last season across all competitions with his 28th goal in 2019-20.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 14 goals in 2020, more than any other Serie A player this year.

"In the first half he went for the shot five times, so it means he was doing more than he should," Sarri said. "Cristiano often plays to free himself to finish, but when he decides to move the ball quickly, he is the best of them all.

"Honestly, I was going to replace Dybala, then I chose Ronaldo, who has played many minutes. We discussed it over the last days, he knew that he would go off at 3-0 and he did it with serenity."

"I think the team did well, even in the first half. We had clear chances, without conceding any," Sarri said. "It was a good team effort and we scored three beautiful goals.

"The team have recovered well after the disappointment from the Coppa Italia, but it was only a matter of time before we were physically well."

Miralem Pjanic was in Juve's line-up after confirmation of his transfer to Barcelona at the end of the season, with Arthur moving in the opposite direction.

Pjanic played 74 minutes and Sarri added: "I haven't even talked to Miralem these days. I often did it after the suspension, after the lockdown, because he had these 20 to 25 days in poor shape.

"We asked ourselves the reason and we tried to find the solution. It was a drop in the mental condition more than anything else. I'm sure he will do well in this period. I find him happy and calm. I have no worries."

Sergio Busquets conceded Barcelona face an uphill battle to retain their LaLiga crown after a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi scored his 700th goal but it was not enough for Barca to claim all three points at Camp Nou, where Saul Niguez scored two penalties to earn Atleti a share of the spoils.

The draw leaves Barca one point behind leaders Real Madrid, who could move four clear with a win over Getafe on Thursday.

There are five games remaining for Barca to turn things around, but midfielder Busquets acknowledged their fate may well now be out of their hands.

"Look, to fight for the title is really complicated if you're dropping two points each two games, but we're going to keep fighting until the end," the Spain international told Movistar.

"We know it's difficult but we're going to try. They're a difficult rival. We dominated and created chances but the two penalties, penalised us – it's been a real shame.

"We were leaders and in a perfect situation before the break. I think it's been difficult for us since – some matches we've played better, others we haven't.

"Dropping points today and at the weekend means we're a little bit further away from our goal, which is to retain the title. I think we played better today but it's a difficult task ahead of us."

Diego Costa's own goal from Messi's corner put Barcelona ahead, before Saul hauled Atleti level from 12 yards – his goal coming after Costa had seen his penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only for a VAR check to spot the goalkeeper had moved off his line.

Messi chipped home his landmark goal from the penalty spot shortly after half-time, yet Saul kept his composure with his second spot-kick of the match.

Yannick Carrasco won both of Atleti's penalties, and the Belgian – who returned to the club in January following a stint in China – was buoyed by the visitors' resilience.

"We always want to win, but I think the team played well. It's just unfortunate we couldn't get the three points," he said.

"We have to keep working and think about the next game. We were playing against one of the best teams in the world. A point away from home is always positive but we wanted to win.

"It's the attitude which is the most important facet of this team always. After that we can win or lose, but if the attitude is the correct one then the coach is happy. Today wasn't to be but we can be proud of our performance."

Leeds United missed the chance to go six points clear at the top of the Championship while Brentford boosted their promotion hopes further.

Marcelo Bielsa's men could have strengthened their grip on top spot with a home win over the league's bottom club Luton Town but were held to a 1-1 draw.

Substitute Harry Cornick gave Luton a surprise 50th-minute lead, only for Stuart Dallas to respond 13 minutes later.

West Brom can cut Leeds' advantage to one point with victory in their midweek trip to Sheffield Wednesday but will be looking over their shoulder at surging Brentford.

The Bees made it three wins from three since the resumption of the season - and four in four - goals from Bryan Mbeumo, Josh Dasilva and Joel Valencia securing a 3-0 defeat of Reading that moves them within two points of the Baggies in the second automatic promotion spot.

Fulham are two points further back after Cyrus Christie's 75th-minute effort earned a 2-1 triumph over west London rivals QPR.

Kai Naismith scored twice as Wigan Athletic moved eight points clear of the relegation zone following a 3-0 win over struggling Stoke City.

Barnsley are only a point adrift of safety after beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 while elsewhere Cardiff City drew 0-0 with Charlton Athletic and Millwall's clash with Swansea City ended 1-1.

Lionel Messi scored the 700th goal of his career but Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid by a pair of Saul Niguez penalties, damaging their LaLiga title defence.

Barca's all-time leading scorer Messi brought up the milestone at Camp Nou with a brilliant Panenka from the penalty spot as he punished Felipe for sending Nelson Semedo to ground early in the second half.

However, Saul, who first equalised in the opening period after Diego Costa's own goal, powered home from 12 yards for the second time after Semedo caught Yannick Carrasco in the box.

The result provided a boost to Real Madrid, who can open up a four-point advantage at the summit by beating Getafe on Thursday.

Messi appeared to have ended his wait for his landmark goal in the 11th minute, but his corner only beat Jan Oblak due to a deflection off the inside of Costa's leg.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a penalty from Costa after Arturo Vidal tripped Carrasco, only for a VAR review to spot the goalkeeper had strayed off his line. A re-take was ordered and Saul guided the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Messi curled a magnificent attempt from the right corner of the box narrowly wide, before steering a cutback from Jordi Alba outside the left upright and seeing a deflected free-kick turned behind by Oblak before half-time.

Barca regained the lead five minutes after the restart when Messi cheekily chipped home his 700th goal from the penalty spot.

Costa missed the target with a header but Carrasco won another penalty and Saul's spot-kick found the net off the gloves of Ter Stegen.

Vidal was unable to find the target with a pair of decent opportunities as Barca were forced to settle for a draw that will do little to quell the rumours of discontent in the dressing room.

What does it mean? Barca falter again

Quique Setien changed his approach for the visit of Atleti, leaving Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati on the bench and playing Riqui Puig behind a front two of Messi and Luis Suarez.

The Blaugrana dominated possession throughout but proved vulnerable on the counter-attack and Setien did not change formation until he introduced Fati in the 85th minute – Griezmann came on five minutes later.

It was too late and Barca have now drawn three of their past four LaLiga fixtures and seen the two-point lead they held when the season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic evaporate. With five games remaining, Setien needs to turn things around quickly.

Magical Messi not enough

Everything positive for Barca was funnelled through Messi – he had more shots in the first half than the entire Atleti team. After three games without a goal he reached his milestone with class, but Diego Simeone's men were still able to snatch a point.

Costa's miserable outing

After narrowly missing out on connecting with a teasing Carrasco free-kick in the sixth minute, Costa put the ball in the net at the other end. His penalty was poor and he was fortunate VAR offered Atletico a second chance to equalise.

What's next?

Atleti are back in action at home to Real Mallorca on Friday, while Barcelona face a tricky trip to Villarreal on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning goal as Juventus restored their four-point lead at the top of Serie A with a 3-1 victory over struggling Genoa.

Lazio's win over Torino had seen the gap at the top of Serie A closed to one point prior to kick-off at Stade Luigi Ferraris, but Maurizio Sarri's side ultimately made light work of their hosts.

After a dominant first-half display failed to produce the goods, Juve made the pressure count early in the second period – Paulo Dybala opening the scoring before Ronaldo picked out the top right-hand corner of the net in sensational fashion.

Substitute Douglas Costa then put the visitors out of sight with an equally impressive strike before Andrea Pinamonti drilled in a 76th-minute consolation for Genoa.

Juve wasted little time in getting on the front foot, with Mattia Perin, on loan from the Bianconeri, pulling off two smart stops in quick succession to deny Ronaldo.

Perin's strong display against his parent club continued before the break, Adrien Rabiot heading straight at him from close range before the goalkeeper made an outstanding stop from a Ronaldo strike.

Juve's breakthrough finally came five minutes after the break, though, Dybala twisting his way clear of several defenders before lashing in a shot which Perin could only help into the net.

With Genoa's resolve broken, Juve had their second six minutes later, Ronaldo hammering home his 24th Serie A goal of the season from 25 yards out.

Costa curled in an exquisite third shortly after coming on as a substitute to wrap up Juve's third successive league win since the restart, though Genoa had the final say when Pinamonti finished from a tight angle.

 

What does it mean? No slip-ups in the Scudetto race

The pressure is on Juve, with Lazio bouncing back from their 3-2 defeat to Atalanta by beating Torino. The Bianconeri seem to be going from strength to strength, however, with Ronaldo and Dybala in scintillating form.

Ronaldo and Dybala do the damage

Sarri has not always been able to accommodate his star strikers to get the best out of both of them, yet that certainly was not the case on Tuesday – Ronaldo looked sharp from the off, while Dybala displayed exceptional individual skill to craft the space for his opener.

Perin gives his parent club a helping hand

Having made nine league appearances for Juve last term, Perin was superb in the first half. Yet the 27-year-old will have been disappointed by his efforts for Dybala's opener as he got down to the strike only to fail to parry it wide.

Key Opta Facts

- Juventus have scored at least two goals in all their last six league games, their best run since February 2019.
- In 2020, Ronaldo has scored 14 goals, more than any other Serie A player.
- Dybala has scored in his last four Serie A games, his longest streak since September 2017.
- Ronaldo has equalled his number of goals of last season - 28 in all competitions.
- Pinamonti has scored in two games in a row for Genoa for the first time in Serie A.

What's next?

It is the Turin derby up next for Juve, who host Torino on Saturday, while 17th-place Genoa face Udinese a day later.

Antoine Griezmann was named on the bench for Barcelona's LaLiga meeting with Atletico Madrid, for whom Joao Felix was left out of the starting line-up.

Quique Setien selected just two regular attackers for the visit of Atleti to Camp Nou on Tuesday, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez joining forces in attack as the reigning champions looked to regain top spot from Real Madrid.

Former Atleti forward Griezmann was joined on the bench by Ansu Fati, who was handed a starting berth in the 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo at the weekend.

Holding midfielder Sergio Busquets took the place of Fati following his return from suspension, with the only other change seeing Clement Lenglet replace Samuel Umtiti.

Diego Simeone made five alterations to the team that started a 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata dropped to the bench, while Koke missed out through suspension. Diego Costa, Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco were drafted into the line-up in their places.

Santiago Arias and Felipe were named in defence, with Kieran Trippier on the bench and Stefan Savic absent due to a ban.

Clemens Tonnies has resigned from his post as Schalke chairman in the wake of controversy surrounding a coronavirus outbreak in a slaughterhouse he part-owns.

Jens Buchta has taken over his role with the Bundesliga club.

Tonnies, who had been chairman for 19 years, attracted criticism earlier this month after more than 1,500 people working in meat processing facility in Rheda-Wiedenbruck – his hometown – tested positive for COVID-19.

The plant is run by Tonnies Holding, a company the businessman owns a stake in, and the outbreak caused local authorities to temporarily close the facility and shut down schools in the area until the end of the month.

The company was accused of not adequately protecting their staff with respect to social-distancing measures, but Tonnies insisted he would not resign his position with the meat-processing business despite accepting responsibility for the outbreak.

Over 1,000 Schalke fans turned up at the club's Veltins Arena on Saturday to protest Tonnies while the team were hammered 4-0 at Freiburg in the final match of a disappointing Bundesliga season.

Fans' frustrations with the 64-year-old are not new.

The club has been crippled by financial issues, supporters believe their core values have been abandoned and Tonnies himself was embroiled in a race row last year, though Schalke's honorary board later deemed his remarks were not racist.

Schalke supporters finally have their wish, however, with Tonnies' resignation confirmed on Tuesday.

A statement read: "Clemens Tonnies was chairman of the Schalke supervisory board for 19 years. On Tuesday (June 30), the 64-year-old entrepreneur informed the association that he would resign from the office with immediate effect and leave the committee."

Buchta, who was deputy chairman of the supervisory board, has since been unanimously voted as Tonnies' successor.

Joao Felix is perhaps feeling the pressure of the "economic impact" from his move to Atletico Madrid but he can emulate Antoine Griezmann in becoming a star for Diego Simeone's side, says Abel Xavier.

The Portugal sensation was one of the most sought-after players of the previous close season prior to joining Atleti, who paid €126million to Benfica for his signature.

There have been flashes of the brilliance that saw Atleti stump up that huge sum, though six goals and a solitary assist from 24 LaLiga appearances - prior to Tuesday's clash with Barcelona - is hardly the most fruitful return.

Former Portugal international Xavier is convinced Joao Felix will adapt to life at the Wanda Metropolitano, though, and is sure it remains the right environment for the 20-year-old to flourish.

"There is a great hope on Felix because of his move to Atletico [but] the economic impact of his value is giving him too much pressure," Xavier told Stats Perform News.

"He needs to find the correct surrounding to be able to realise the potential of his own game. 

"That is going to be the next step with him, especially at Atletico Madrid with their philosophy and style of play.

"I admire Simeone a lot. There are a lot of people who do not like the identity of his game because he's very effective. At the end of the day he's fighting for the big trophies.

"But when you are integrating a big player, a fantasy player, a player who likes to have the ball…it's a process also for Felix to work on different aspects of the game.

"Maybe he was not used to defending so much without the ball. He needs to have the ball.

"For that reason I think it's a good process that will build him in different aspects to become stronger.  

"He's going to be one of the greatest in the future, for sure, with the correct set-up and style of play collectively."

Some pundits have questioned whether Joao Felix was right to move to Atleti and his name was linked tentatively with Manchester United during the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

Xavier doubts anyone would pay more for his services than Atleti did, though, and said Joao Felix can become key for Simeone, just as Griezmann did for five seasons before joining Barcelona last year.

"It's very difficult at this present moment that someone can come and pay more than what Atletico paid for him," Xavier said. 

"He needs right now to be focused on his game. He's had a few injuries also, which is not a good sign. He needs to find stability and consistency. 

"Atletico right now is the best place for him. Stay two or three years and be the main figure in the same way that Antoine Griezmann was."

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